Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Here's to your health(care), Part 2

An update on the possibility of beer taxes going up to pay for an overhaul of the US healthcare system.

We've said it before: beer, wine and liquor – partly to assuage the temperance leagues and become legal again those 76 years ago – were turned into vehicles for taxes, and have been paying the freight for three generations hence. The sin taxes.

Granted the spotlight is on the beverage industry right now, but why is it outside the realm of reason to ask Burger King, in addition to Coke and Pepsi, or the owners of Ben & Jerry to pony up something for their contribution toward unhealthy living, however large or small?

Obesity can be, and is, as insidiously debilitating as alcoholism. Overeating just isn't defined as a social ill like drinking to excess is. And if you want to argue that it's presumptuous to think that high-fat foods or beverages with a lot of sugar will be overconsumed, then it's equally presumptuous to assume that beer, wine and liquor will be abused; that everyone who has a drink will drive with a load on; and that everyone under 21 will scheme to get his hands on a pint of Jack Daniel's or a sixpack of beer. (Funny how that's MADD's position.)

For the record, we're not in favor of higher taxes. We're just saying that what's good for the Grey Goose is good for Burger King, so long as BK thinks cheap, fatty, starchy food is good business and what America needs more of.

Anyway, looks like the battle has been joined. Add your voice: Here's the contact info for Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez. (Just remember that Lautenberg was the one who authored the federal .08% threshold for DUI – no, we don't endorse driving with a snootful – and the federal drinking age of 21, both of which were nothing more than Uncle Sam usurping states' authority by threatening to withhold highway funding if the states didn't sign on.)

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