In what appears to be a thinly veiled effort to bring alcohol prohibition back, and to drive sales in to the black market, Oregon Representative Ben Cannon is pushing a bill to raise the excise tax on beer from $2.60 per barrel to $49.61 per barrel! CNN calculated this to be a 1900% increase. (CNN Video)
My thoughts are there is a balance between raising money with taxes, and intentionally killing something with taxes. The predictable outcome for such a high tax increase is that more people will end up making their own beer, then some of them will sell it to others, and voila, the black market that existed during prohibition is back in bloom!
Judging by the photo of Rep. Cannon he seems pretty young, but surely he's heard of the failures of prohibition. Must history keep repeating itself?
Also, it's offensive to me to call taxing beer a "sin" tax. Drinking beer is not a sin. Perhaps we should call it a "tax from the self-righteous."
So what is a "sin?" Harming someone else or their property. Oppressing others with self-righteous lording of authority over others, and other forms of oppression.
Use the right tool for the right job. Oppressing ALL beer (or alcohol) drinkers because some of them have problems IS NOT the solution. I would even add that you are approaching it from the wrong angle.
I am not trying to condemn Ben, it may be he is being hounded by others who have no clue, or are very frustrated. And I do not doubt one bit there is a "budget problem," or people who can't handle alcohol responsibly. But the frustrated people need to spend some time figuring out the root of their issues before dropping a "bunker buster" bomb to get rid of a few moles!
There were many people who thought the way to get car makers, and buyers, to want cars with better gas mileage was to drastically raise the cost of gas. Wrong direction. They got their wish, gas prices soared, but look at the so-called unintended consequences, the car companies are at, or past, death's door!
Personally I don't believe an after-the-fact rehabilitation program is where to begin to address the problems of the people who have trouble with alcohol; while this may be helpful for people who have problems now, it does nothing to stanch future problems. I also think it's an utter mistake to villainize alcohol in an attempt to prevent those reaching the age, from trying it. Since I am dirt poor and not paid to come up with these solutions, I have none to offer, but am sure there are some.
Interested in seeing all the ugliness of the alcohol prohibition era come back? Jack up prices on alcohol such that average people find it more economical to make their own brew, and trade it among friends and friends of friends, etc… Let's not go back to the early 1900's mentality please, there's too much of it in 2009!
The US government has violated its own Constitution too many times by allowing the religious to institute their beliefs over the rest of us! History clearly shows that alcohol prohibition was a government imposed set of beliefs by the "religious," a government imposed religion in clear violation of the 1st Amendment! The current "war on drugs" likewise has many aspects of a government imposed religion against marijuana, mushrooms, peyote, and other all-natural unadulterated plants God made. (Be sure to read 1 Timothy 4:1-5, and Titus 1:15-16, and be sure to check out my 1 minute video.) This "war" must end! There have been too many casualties. Going to even bigger extremes like gargantuan tax increases, or public floggings for offenders is NOT the solution!