So this morning, in one of the beverage digest email newsletters I receive regularly, I’m reading about this ridiculous new tax being proposed in San Francisco, where councillors are contemplating a “nickel a drink” fee – read: tax – to pay for the costs the city incurs in the treatment of alcohol abusers. And I think, “Hmmmm.”
There are also significant costs associated with overeating and obesity, thinks I, so what about a “nickel a burger” tax to pay for those? And since traffic accidents cost Americans millions, nay, billions each year, what about a “nickel a mile”? Since hypertension brought about by caffeine addiction must also have an associated cost, we’d best consider a “nickel a coffee” tax, too. And don’t get me started on my “nickel a bullet” idea.
The point is that alcohol abuse is a social ill, and as such, the costs associated with it should be paid by the social collective, not the people who also happen to have a drink now and again. The fact that I will be having a beer tonight, perhaps two or three, in fact, should not mean that I or anyone else who enjoys a glass of beer, wine or spirits, or a wonderfully mixed Manhattan, have anything in common with the person described in the story as drinking “the $2 bottle of the cheapest vodka you can find,” much less share a common responsibility for the abuse of alcohol.
But you already know all that. The reason I’m writing this, then, is to contrast the above with a story that followed two down in my email digest, about Molson Coors, who posted a 27% increase in profit for their second quarter. An interesting juxtaposition, is all I’m saying.