One way or another we all pay for excessive drinking by absorbing social and economic costs associated with the deadbeat irresponsible liquor industry and sychophants in legislatures and the US Congress. The Center for Disease Control has released new information on the costs of excessive drinking. Excessive drinking is the consequence of any drinking by those genetically predisposed to alcoholism or those who care only about their own perverted pleasure without regard to social costs.
The full extent of those costs may be underestimated by the CDC, but their current estimate are social costs of just the excessive drinkers (let alone those who think they can drink responsibly) is in the neighborhood of $240 Billion per year. We all pay those costs whether we ever touch a drop of alcohol because we pay taxes and we buy car insurance and we pay health insurance.
Excessive drinkers also pay one cost disproportionate to the rest of us however. They are 1 in 10 of the extra deaths between 24 and 60. That is not even grim satisfaction however since in the process they can make life hell for their families and co-workers. Note added link as of June30,2014: Northern Plains news on SD as Microcosm of National Alcohol-related Deaths from CDC Data.
You can read the transcript of the PBS Newshour interview with Dr. Robert Brewer of the CDC at PBS NEWS HOUR-Why We're all paying the costs of excessive drinking.
Increased taxes on alcohol and individual licenses to purchase beverage alcohol should cover the whole $240 Billion in losses and costs. If those of us who are responsible can't get a reduction in vehicle insurance, we should at least use the tax mechanisms to dump those taxes into the social good instead of not having them and thus providing a huge subsidy to the deadbeat irresponsible beverage alcohol industry.
The failure to tax the liquor business sufficiently is an outrage. It is like having warlords stealing from all of us and murdering thousands each year in alcohol-related highway crashes and gun deaths and violence on families fueled by alcohol sales and inevitable abuse from the inevitable addiction and drug dependency. Yes, alcohol is a drug. It is an anesthetic. The failure to tax alcoholic beverages to cover unnecessary costs also makes them less expensive. Increasing taxes would also reduce consumption.
It is time for responsible citizens and legislators to get off their and our asses and make the boozers and booze peddlers pay their fair share of all the unnecessary costs their greed shifts to the rest of society. Time to raise hell.
*** Stay tuned and drive sober-- Doug Wiken