Booze Is The Cheapest It Has Ever Been, Which Is Great

Sometimes, because of social media constraints, you need to chop your headlines. So, sorry about that one up there. It’s not entirely accurate. I had to shorten it. The full headline I wanted was “Booze Is The Cheapest It Has Ever Been, Which Is Great, As Long As You Are Fine With A Side Effect Of That, Which Is That Lower Priced Alcohol Causes More Death.”

See, much too long. And not that catchy. And also kind of depressing. So, sorry for misleading you there.

Now, I drink a lot, and I like that alcohol is less expensive. But I don’t like that it causes people to be dead. But, new research (as well as general common sense) says that is inarguable. Cheaper booze = more drinking = more dead people.

Which, since we are overpopulated maybe that’s okay?

I’m trying to see a bright side. There really isn’t one. But first, booze is cheap as hell these days. Back in the day, getting drunk used to cost you serious scratch, according to The Washington Post.

Consider this: being a really heavy drinker — a 10-drink-a-day drinker — cost about 45 percent of the average person’s disposable income in 1950. In 2011, you could buy those same 10 daily drinks using only 3 percent of the average disposable income, according to a 2013 analysis published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

More wealth for people, as well as a drastic decrease in the cost of goods have helped to remedy that problem (which technically wasn’t a problem because no one *needs* to get drunk), as well as a Congress that is loathe to raise taxes on alcohol (probably because all our nation’s lawmakers a drunks)

Since these taxes are levied by volume, inflation has steadily gnawed away at their real value over the past 60 years … In 1951, the federal excise tax on a standard shot of 40-proof whiskey was about 90 cents in today’s dollars. Today it stands at about 13 cents, a seven-fold decrease. The real federal beer tax has fallen about fivefold over the same period, with a more modest drop for wine.

Which, YAHOOO! Cheap booze. That’s great. I love cheap booze. I don’t mean shitty booze, just good booze that is inexpensive. Who can’t get behind that? Well, the people who have died as a result of that, not least of all because they are no longer living and thus technically can’t join a movement around increasing excise taxes.

“Quite simply, alcohol taxation and other measures that increase the price of ethanol are effective in promoting the public health and safety, ” writes Duke University’s Philip J. Cook in his 2007 book Paying the Tab. “Higher prices are conducive to lower rates of underage drinking, traffic fatalities, and sexually transmitted disease.”

“The qualitative conclusion — that higher alcohol taxes save lives — is well established in studies by economists and public health researchers.”

In real world studies, too. A few years back, Illinois raised taxes on alcohol. A very moderate hike.

Assuming that the full cost of the increase was passed to consumers, they would have raised the price of a standard drink of beer or wine by about a half cent, and of a shot of liquor by roughly 5 cents.

Man. That ain’t dick. Ain’t dick at all. I’d be down with paying a half a penny extra for a beer, especially when you hear the results.

University of Florida researchers crunched these numbers along with federal traffic statistics, they found that even these modest price increases were enough to cause a significant drop in drunk driving fatalities. “Fatal alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes declined 9.9 per month after the tax increase, a 26 percent reduction,” the conclude. The effect was even larger — a 37 percent reduction — for drivers under 30.

Holy hell. Since it was enacted, it’s estimated that the tax saved approximately 750 lives. That’s a lot of not dead people. If you added up all the drinks you had in six years, say you had five drinks every day for six years, it only cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of 43 bucks.

Is it worth one bottle of nice booze every six years to not kill almost a thousand people?

Seriously, let me know in the comments, but the answer is yes.