If you’ve been following along from my posts the last couple of days, beginning with, Stuff & Nonsense: The UK Health Select Committee Report On Alcohol, and more specifically Pete Brown’s wonderfully telling and insightful rebuke of it all — and you should be — then I’m pleased to report that part four is now available.
Today’s rebuke is one I’d long wondered about, and it’s an argument often trotted out on our shores whenever the hue and cry goes up for more taxes on alcohol, as it inevitably and incessantly does. For me, perhaps the most annoying aspect to the neo-prohibitionist attacks is the never-ending nature of them. They’re like the psycho killer in every modern horror movie. There’s seemingly no way to make them stop. There’s no reasoning with them. They’re not susceptible to logic. California’s own version of a neo-prohibitionist Jason, state representative Jim Beall, said last year after his bill to raise beer taxes 560% was defeated. “They’ve given me a bloody nose. But I’m going to wipe it off and come back in a few weeks with something different.”
In today’s counter to the UK report’s assertion that Alcohol is becoming cheaper/more affordable, Pete leads with the following:
Well, alcohol is becoming more affordable because average household income is increasing. Alcohol is becoming more affordable because everything is becoming more affordable.
It’s my sense that’s what’s going on in the U.S., too. The “taxes haven’t been keeping pace with inflation” argument is likewise untrue for the UK.
[A]ffordability and price are being treated as the same thing — they’re not. By deliberately confusing ‘affordability’ (which is a function of rising disposable income) and price (which is a function of — well, price, but controlled chiefly by duty), you allow newspapers like the Telegraph to interpret these findings in the following syntax-strangled bullet point:
- “69 – percentage alcohol is cheaper by than it was in 1980.”
This is a lie. Alcohol is NOT cheaper. It is already increasing by more than inflation, and in recent decades, it always has.
I’m going to have to see if that holds true here, too, though I suspect it does.
If this is new to you, start with Pete Brown’s Health Select Committee Report on Alcohol. Part One (of 10) was published yesterday, Alcohol consumption in the UK is increasing. Yesterdday, parts two, 25% of the UK population is drinking at hazardous or harmful levels, and three, Binge drinking is increasing, were published. Today, here’s part four: Alcohol is becoming cheaper/more affordable. Again, stay tuned.