Beer tax?

Joe Six-Pack may have to hand over nearly $2 more for a case of beer to help provide health insurance for all.

            Details of the proposed beer tax are described in a Senate Finance Committee document distributed to lawmakers before a closed-door meeting Wednesday. Senators are focusing on how to pay for expanding health insurance for an estimated 50 million uninsured Americans, a cost that could range to some $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

I think it’s an interesting idea to tax alcohol to pay for health care. But I think taxing sodas (mentioned later in the article) goes too far. It seems like a slippery slope. What would be next, a tax on chocolate?

The idea of a “fat tax” has been around for awhile. So yeah, taxing chocolate.

Health taxes for cigarettes already exist, I’m not sure why other health taxes are so verboten. Sides, we gotta pay for all this health care somehow!

Beer drinkers of the world, unite! We have an advocate!

Let’s see, sodas contribute to obesity, the second-biggest cause of health problems that is preventable. (cigs, of course, being the first.) They use massive amounts of resources for packaging, have no nutritional value, and are available to all ages. Yeah, tax 'em. Added bonus: if you tax them for the packaging waste, you get an in-road to legally stop bottled water as well. (Only real argument is packaging, and soda packaging is heavier than water packaging.)


So let me get this straight… The government wants to regressively tax a substance that the scientific community universally agrees is beneficial for your health? Yeah, that’s a great fucking idea!

So, beer consumption helps prevent heart attacks, but it contributes to obesity, which causes heart attacks…

I’m confused…

Did the scientific community not see The Breakfast Club?

“You see, this is what you get in my house when you spill PAINT in the GARAGE!”

No… If you drink beer, you’re not automatically going to become a fatso…

I generally drink a beer or some other adult beverage every evening, and I’m skinny.

Obviously, the IRS should be taxing people by the pound.

Now wait a minute, that might target muscular men or large-breasted women, and we don’t want to get rid of them.

O! The challenges of authority…

Obviously this sort of thing rarely works in practice, but what would you say if there was a tax offset, for instance, lowering medicare taxes by a fixed amount (the amount a healthy person would generally spend on unhealthy food), and then using the taxes on soft drinks and chocolate to fund medicare?

(I know that as I postulated it, it would probably be a regressive tax and inordinately target the poor, which is one of the reasons I stipulated it wouldn’t be practical. I’m just talking the general idea of expanding the use of taxes on “unhealthy” products to fund health care)

Fucking consumption taxes. Can we stop with this already?

Bit of a sore point with me. Minnesota has been dragged down under the weight of a hundred different fees in the last several years because our douche governor is going to keep his “I didn’t raise taxes!” talking point come hell or high water. Sure, dickface, you didn’t raise taxes. You just instituted “fees” to cover budget shortfalls.

Oh, and now he’s claiming some sort of deus ex governor power to just hack away at the budget since the Republican minority + Republican gov refuse to make any kind of compromise on budget proposals. So he’s just going to “unallocate” many millions of dollars from health care and other low-income assistance programs. Fucking poor people, dragging us down. Let’s just buy them bootstraps instead.

I will riot in the streets if they tax beer anymore. RIOT!

I’m plenty willing to pay more for beer if it gets us universal health insurance.

What about wine coolers and oversized margaritas at Applebees? How do you like it now?

It won’t.

There are 2 sources of money for health care that are being strongly considered: The health insurance exclusion which would be a big tax increase on everyone or a VAT. Can’t get to the cost by silly things like beer/soda taxes. Won’t raise near enough revenue.

Yglesias has a good couple of posts on this. The latter has some actual numbers:

He also claims that the proposed tax would raise about 28bn per year, and probably result in some savings vis a vis healthcare (fewer drunks) and law enforcement (fewer drunk drivers).