Re: Guest Post - Tax the Booze

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* That is, I think he believes what he's saying, but is also deliberately taking the strongest form of his position to create debate.

That's not what it means!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:01 AM
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Maybe Heebie's moving the Overton window on what Overton window means? (Someone must have made this joke already.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:10 AM
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It means, SWPL, right?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:12 AM
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This is wrong for objective reasons that have nothing at all to do with my personal opinions.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:34 AM
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I'd be fine with taxes on expensive booze, but only as long as the money was spent on free beer for the masses.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:40 AM
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The Overton Window should be a drink. Maybe gin and Everclear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:48 AM
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The core of Kleiman's argument seems to be this:

But another said, "If the difference in price between Black and ordinary scotch matters to you, you're drinking too much." And I regard that as the first principle of drug policy. Price matters a lot to people who use a lot, and so it's a very good way to regulate consumption. So here I am in Washington state, thinking about regulating cannabis, and a big question is how to keep the prices up.

Now I have no idea how much alcohol is taxed in America (I imagine it's absurdly complicated with your federal system and all) but if you look at a group of high consumption countries in Europe (Portugal, Ireland, France, Denmark, UK - I'm discounting the Eastern European countries which seem to have crazy high consumption) and compare their excise and VAT rates, there doesn't seem to be a story there. And if there is one, it tends to contradict Kleiman, because those five have relatively high taxation and very high boozing rates.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:48 AM
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Maybe Heebie's moving the Overton window on what Overton window means?

Nick S!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 6:04 AM
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Make taxes high enough, especially on something as easy to make as weed, and you'll have a thriving black market. There's already a black market for cigarettes in high taxation places like New York.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 6:11 AM
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Is this the business idea thread now?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 6:13 AM
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April Fools! It's a business thread!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 6:20 AM
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7 -- He makes that point, but I thought the key point was that if you're looking at what drug appears to cause other violent crime that affects people other than the user, it's overwhelmingly alcohol, but no one talks about that. That seems obviously true to me but on the other hand mmm bourbon.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 6:25 AM
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7

... there doesn't seem to be a story there ...

More formal studies have found otherwise. See here , here or here .


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 6:25 AM
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if you look at a group of high consumption countries in Europe (Portugal, Ireland, France, Denmark, UK [...]) and compare their excise and VAT rates, there doesn't seem to be a story there. And if there is one, it tends to contradict Kleiman, because those five have relatively high taxation and very high boozing rates.

That discounts the possibility that alcohol consumption in those countries would be even higher if the taxes were lower. Which, if you've ever been in the company of, say, English in Spain or Danes in Greece, is entirely plausible.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:02 AM
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The Overton Window is one of those concepts everyone has been using conversationally for years that for some reason I semi-consciously decided I was not going to learn what it meant. I mean at some point someone told me but it won't stay in my head. I imagine it being an actual windom, like maybe a transom.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:19 AM
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*window


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:20 AM
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15: solid plan, since the way it is used it doesn't actually really mean anything.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:24 AM
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Wrong! It has added additional pseudo-scientificity and Internet meme-ness to the phrase "the current debate."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:26 AM
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Oh no wait I'm sorry the "Overton Window" was the genius conservative idea that has changed politics forever.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:32 AM
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The Overton window is useful shorthand for the breadth of acceptable opinion among 'serious people.' It gets abused and misused, but it's still handy.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:35 AM
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If the great, renowned nineteenth century social scientist James Overton were alive to see the misuse people have made of his profound insight concerning "the window," he would weep.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:44 AM
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It is a shorthand for a terrible and mistaken view of the way politics works. It is far less than useful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 7:59 AM
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I thought about not using the phrase "Overton Window" but, hey, if it weren't for the cranky comments . . .


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 8:01 AM
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He's right, with the current large decrease in smoking, alcohol is by far the biggest problem drug in the US.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 8:04 AM
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What alcohol problem? I have an adequate supply.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 8:42 AM
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Overton Window.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 9:24 AM
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It is a shorthand for a terrible and mistaken view of the way politics works. It is far less than useful.

I'm not sure what you think is terrible and mistaken about it, but, as far as models of political change go, I think its plenty useful. The only trouble is, it most frequently tends to be used for evil rather than for good.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 9:54 AM
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It is nonsense and bullshit that gets treated as received fact, is my problem with it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 10:04 AM
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Whatever we call the rhetorical strategy, it seems obvious to me that we either over-regulate marijuana or under-regulate alcohol. We can't even prevent repeated drunk driving, although the Overton Rear Window has moved so much on that.

I could be convinced that what we under-regulate are cars, but breath interlocks for everyone would start another Whiskey Rebellion. The expense is a burden, but I don't think the interlocks themselves would be an undue civil libertarian burden -- much less than checkpoints, and even less than the monitoring needed for mile-by-weight road taxes (which would otherwise be very fair).


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 10:40 AM
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If you don't think the Overton Window describes a real phenomenon whose workings have been visible over our lives is either 18 years old, or on crack.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 10:44 AM
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28 -- I don't know what you mean. Surely the Overton-window moving power of NAMBLA is why gay marriage is a possibility today.

Alternately, it's just a lame way of saying "the current debate."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 10:46 AM
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But my god it's the conservative mastery of the Overton Window which has caused all our current problems.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 10:48 AM
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If you invent a nonsensical definition for a term, you can demonstrate that the term is useless. (Henceforward, this will be known as the politicalfootball postulate.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 12:28 PM
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Somebody should really claim that the Overton Window is 100% probably true in all circumstances or else I'll successfully shift opinion so nobody can uncritically believe in that horseshit.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 12:45 PM
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I have a minor fear about beer taxes that it will drive more people into my hobby (homebrewing). Which sounds weird, but there's already a sub-population that homebrews so they can make beer cheaply rather than because it's fun or because the beer you can make is good (This is a noticeable difference about homebrewing in Canada, where it seems to be entirely about tax-dodging).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 12:55 PM
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34: so they drink bad beer; what harm is done to you?


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 1:13 PM
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Oops.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 1:14 PM
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36: It lowers the status of his hobby.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 1:21 PM
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Well, they change whether the supply shops tend to stock wacky exciting ingredients or cheap crap. They also change the cultural reaction when you tell someone what you do. Other relatively unimportant effects, but they make the hobby as a whole less fun, because they are part of it.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 1:22 PM
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35: More people ought to drive down the price of the gear, and at least some of the people who take it up for cheapness will start taking an interest in it as art and science rather than just a cheap way to get sloshed. I think it would be a win. Until they started taxing homebrew kit to make up for the lost revenue, of course.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 1:23 PM
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Once you have supply shops you're doomed to commercial pressures anyway. Cheap crap most places, one outofsight shop on each coast, and a flutter of fellow enthusiasts trying to run cool shops in secondary cities.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 1:49 PM
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My dad used to homebrew to save money, back in the day. He used to buy malt syrup to make Pabst Blue Ribbon at home.

This is a man who once tried to convince me that Bud Light was the best beer in the world, and he knew it was true because even the Germans love it.

He was always more into quantity, not quality.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 1:57 PM
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This is a man who once tried to convince me that Bud Light was the best beer in the world, and he knew it was true because even the Germans love it.

Holy shit Spike is Dsquared's son!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 1:58 PM
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Oh good, finally the right thread to ask if anyone read the Daniel Okrent book on Prohibition. I ask because when I went to see the American Spirits museum exhibit based on the book, I was pretty put off by the dismissive tone in much of the exhibit toward temperance activists' goals.

I get that they were activists, and by definition somewhat fringe-y. But it was really striking how fast they glided through "ohyesthesesillylookingwomenDIDhavesomelegitvoncerns" and into "Bbbbbbut Carry Nation isn't SMILING in her picture, so she's obviously just a big ol' meanie spoilsport."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 2:10 PM
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Oh right, the Q: Was that just the exhibit, or is the book like that too?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 2:13 PM
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I've been planning on reading it, but I need some way to forget that the author wrote it.* I'm not inclined to give him much benefit of the doubt on pretty much anything that requires judgment after his showing as NYT public editor.

*Also, library copy only.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 3:44 PM
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46: My thoughts as well. Also damned for inventing rotisserie baseball.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:14 PM
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I dunno, I kind of have a soft spot for Okrent for at least admitting that the NYT has a socially liberal bias on some issues. I thought it was a big step toward demolishing the fantasy of "objectivity."

And then they hired the next two public editors and things went right back to normal denialism. Ah well. Maybe this new one will be a little better. I'm cautiously optimistic based on her Twitter feed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:31 PM
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I concur with 45 and 46.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:32 PM
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47


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 04- 1-13 5:32 PM
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Kleiman is basically a Blairite minus the Iraq pathology; on the social-democratic side, but a bit weaksauce, and completely without any sense that liberty might be valuable in itself. Wants to fix everybody.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04- 3-13 4:40 AM
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