Are you ready for the government war on booze?

Are you ready for the government war on booze?

Everything old is new again in the era of expanding government regulations, so why limit yourself to only trying new things? Let’s dredge up some golden oldies and take them out for a fresh spin. This seems to be part of the thinking of Reihan Salam, writing at Salon this week. As far as a new war on alcohol is concerned, Salam isn’t calling for a renewal of prohibition… we tried that before. But he will settle for just taxing it out of this world.

Alcohol Taxes Should Be Tripled
The war on drugs has been a failure. But the war on booze deserves a second chance

For a nightmare vision of where heavy drinking can lead a society, consider Russia, where the pervasiveness of binge drinking contributes to an epidemic of cardiovascular disease and a death rate from fatal injuries that you’d normally see in wartime. Political economist Nicholas Eberstadt has gone so far as to suggest that drunkenness is a key reason why Russia, a country with universal literacy and a level of educational attainment that is (technically) in the same ballpark as countries like Australia and Sweden, has roughly the same living standards as Ecuador.

Andrew Stuttaford at The Corner takes a run at the correct answer.

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Reihan is right that excessive alcohol consumption has been a disaster for Russia, but that is, in no small part, a function of the way that the state has used and abused alcohol both as a method of social control and a source of revenue (as much as 40 percent of the state’s income came from alcohol at certain points in the Czarist era, and as much as 25 percent for certain periods in Soviet times)…

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