A social services advocacy group called New Futures recently promoted a study that suggested a cost recovery tax per drink on all cocktails in New Hampshire. They (or the study they promoted) claim that excessive drinking costs the state as much as 1.15 billion per year. The tax could/would, help offset those costs.
New Hampshire has a large percentage of the population that drinks alcohol but the primary source of the expense appears to be binge drinking, which I have discovered is another moving target on the social sciences spectrum. According to the CDC, binge drinking (for women) was recently changed–for reporting purposes–to four or more drinks on any one occasion.
That’s like calling binge-shopping visiting four or more stores on any one occasion. Women can sit and talk for hours making four drinks more like one per hour, which in the real world is called “nursing.”
I confess that I am jaded by the institutions who appear to justify policy by changing the definition. Former New Hampshire Governor John Lynch, for example, managed to reduce High school drop out rates by simply changing the definition. He has been lauded as an innovator but progressives have been changing the definitions to make problems ‘appear’ to go away for more than 100 years.
New Hampshire Democrats managed to tap into a huge pool of left-leaning voters by getting a judge to re-define domicile, ensuring that (not coincidentally by the way) crazy social sciences research could potentially pry-bar public opinion to justify more taxes for “programs” to solve the problems those studies insist we must address.
And every problem requires a tax, as if the only way to address it is to hand it all off to a few hundred elected “experts” and state bureaucrats, who use the taxpayers incomes as their own personal inheritance.
Well I have some observations that seem relevant (to me) on this issue.
How much would you want to bet that a significant portion of the “drinking population” responsible for the outcome in the research, including the binge drinkers, are out of state college students, temporarily ‘domicied’ in the Granite State? I think you can take that to the bank.
So out of state college students are probably (based on the study) putting a disproportionate cost pressure on the full-time residents. I don’t think we can ban the college students because that will have a disproportionate affect on beer sales, and the need for cops to arrest them for internal possession of alcohol, and so on. (Although Democrats are not against having a disproportionately negative impact on anything if it gets them more revenue to play with.)
Because out of state students get to vote here thanks to Democrats, why not tax the university system for a portion of all out of state tuition paid by students allowed to vote here? We could then use that money for tax relief on residents who are forced to pay the long term costs of left-wing policy, resulting from stuffing ballot boxes with the votes of binge-drinkers who are also costing the state money and will probably move back home after college and never have to suffer the folly of their political influence. (I can’t speak to the folly of their binge drinking–if it actually is binge drinking.)
And I bet that political cost is a lot higher than just $1.15 billion per year. Last time the Democrats ran the store they added several billion to the state budget. That’s called binge spending. The cure for that in 2010 was something called ‘Republicans.’
So my take-away here is that we could save at least $1.15 billion per year by getting rid of binge-drinking, out of state college students who are allowed to vote here. And we’d save a few billion more because Democrats would not have the votes to keep control of the legislature, and with less students fewer university liberal clingers working to promote the Democrat agenda.
That’s a win-win if you ask me.
Steve has been recognized as the Americans For Prosperity Blogger of the month for December 2012