Libertarian Commentary on the News, #13-43D: Beer

Beer Excise Tax Awaits Changes
(Daily Policy Digest) There are two competing bills going through Congress right now.

  • The Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act (BEER) Act would halve the standard excise tax rate for beer sold in the United States, from $18 to $9 per barrel. Based on 2012 numbers, the BEER Act would result in tax savings of $1.68 billion a year.
  • Based on 2012 sales data, the Small BREW Act will result in tax savings of $65 million a year, all of which would go to brewers producing less than 6 million barrels a year.
  • Nathan: In the US, legally, a barrel of beer contains a mere 31 gallons, or 165 12-ounce cans worth (I know, bigger cans are in).  On this the US government charges an excise tax of 92 mils per can: just under 10 cents.  States and even localities can charge more on top of that.   (That is what many “health advocates” want to see slapped on EVERY 12-ounce can of sugary soda and every fountain pop, by the way: ten cents is the most common demand.)

    These “cute” names disgust me – and for more than just the “USA PATRIOT ACT” – I hated ISTEA and SAFTEA (transportation acts) because they help your “representatives” shove them down your throat.

    Now, I don’t drink or buy or sell beer, nor does my family.  So it is no skin off our nose whether the stuff is taxed or not.  EXCEPT that taxation is theft, and excise taxes are damaging in many ways to more than just those people who buy and sell the goods.  The excise on beer, as on other alcohol, and as proposed on sugary drinks and fast foods and candy and the like, is a “sin tax” intended to both stuff the coffers of the government (as if that were possible, considering that they are spending like drunken sailors), AND force people to do what is good for them OR punish them for NOT doing what the nannies want.  Like tobacco taxes – and remember, beer taxes COULD be on THAT level of stupidity – it is more punishment than prevention.  Many people won’t give up their cigs or chaw AND they won’t (in even greater numbers) give up their booze.  Supposedly we LEARNED that lesson about 80 years ago – indeed, isn’t 2013 the 80th anniversary of the end of Federal Prohibition (of booze, not anything else)?  But clearly, government did not: witness Bloomberg’s stupid attempts.

    However, “we” did learn that we can tax things to the point of insanity, and if the right things are taxed, a LOT of the people generally opposed to theft and other things will be swayed to join the pro-tax side.

    Which is what makes these attempts in Congress so strange:  WHY are the GOP and even Dems doing this?  Admittedly, a few million or even close to 2 billion in revenue is a pittance, in their eyes: not even a tickmark on the FedGov budget (when we have one) or spending or debt or revenue.    Is it a “bread and circuses” thing: a meaningless gesture to appease “Joe Sixpack” and get him to continue voting the incumbents back in?

    If that were the case, why not go for broke and ELIMINATE the taxes entirely?  Tell the brewers and sellers that they can reduce the price by the dime a can.  Is that going to cause a vast increase in violence and traffic deaths related to beer?  Probably not.  But… it night get people to realizing that there IS life without taxes.  At least without SOME taxes.

    Mama’s Note: The repeal of prohibition was simply to appease the restless natives, because it was becoming a problem for the politicians… but it didn’t end an iota of control by government. They just moved the goalposts a bit. This, of course, is exactly why the call to “tax and regulate” drugs, specifically cannabis, is so wrong and dangerous. It keeps the same people in control, and gives them another cash cow. But the idiots who buy the stuff just suck it up and pay, somehow thinking they are now free.

    About TPOL Nathan

    Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
    This entry was posted in Commentary on the News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s