The case for higher alcohol taxes
It turns out that alcohol is pretty bad
This is not particularly in the news, but I think one of the most underrated basic public policy points around is that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is a pretty serious public health problem.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a drink now and then, and I enjoyed more drinks more frequently when I was younger. A lot of people derive immense satisfaction out of alcohol as a complement to socializing or find winding down with a glass of wine at the end of the day to be incredibly relaxing.
But I don’t think we really have any kind of clear consensus on how to weigh everyday pleasures against public health concerns. About 40,000 people die each year from injuries inflicted by firearms, of which more than half are suicides. In some social circles in the United States, that’s seen as an acute crisis worthy of drastic political action to curtail the tide of violence. CDC stats say about 95,000 excess deaths each year can be attributed to alc…