Is it too late to take it all back, this loose talk about legalizing "vices" and then taxing them?
Some details on a "proposed beer tax" currently working its way through Congress like a kidney stone through Ted Kennedy's man-parts. It's all over but the shouting, screaming, and gnashing of teeth:
Consumers in the United States may have to hand over nearly $2 more for a case of beer to help provide health insurance for all.
Details of the proposed beer tax are described in a Senate Finance Committee document that will be used to brief lawmakers Wednesday at a closed-door meeting.
Taxes on wine and hard liquor would also go up. And there might be a new tax on soda and other sugary drinks blamed for contributing to obesity. No taxes on diet drinks, however.
Beer taxes would go up by 48 cents a six-pack, wine taxes would rise by 49 cents per bottle, and the tax on hard liquor would increase by 40 cents per fifth. Proceeds from the new taxes would help cover an estimated 50 million uninsured Americans.
Geez, I think we can guess what kind of lushes runs Congress based on the progressively lighter taxes on wine and booze (let's see, the rates work out to about 7 cents per can of beer, 10 cents per glass of wine, and about 2 cents per shot). Should light beers (which have fewer calories but taste great!) get a reduced tax rate, akin to the diet soda loophole? And thank you in advance, Sens. Kennedy and Dodd, for personally raising enough tax money so that Little Jimmy can finally get that operation. Indeed, you probably raised enough just by the end of that closed-door (hic!) meeting.
Time for a history lesson: The Whiskey Rebellion came about in the 1790s after the newly formed U.S.A. levied a tax on booze and carriages to pay off the national debt. Still, the tax was, according to the generally odious Alexander Hamilton, pushed "more as a measure of social discipline than as a source of revenue." The episode even spawned a Joe the Plumber type character, known as Tom the Tinker. The Whiskey Rebellion was the first time that federal troops were called out on citizens and it ended the way these things always do: Busting up a bunch of stuff, arresting some "simpletons," and helping to push legal production into gray- and black-market modes for years to come.
Why wasn't there a Schoolhouse Rock video about the Whiskey Rebellion?
More about Beer: An American Revolution, from Reason.tv:
For downloadable versions and embed code of this video, go here.