Stop the Beer Tax
Reject HR 1305
Questions Congress Should Ask the Beer
- The beer industry claims that
beer taxes hurt working and low-income people most, yet producers, whenever they
want, raise beer prices themselves to maximize profits. What drives the
industry? Concern for poor people or concern for profits?
- If most beer drinkers consume in
moderate amounts, why is it that, in most cases, beer is the beverage of choice
for heavy drinkers, binge drinkers, drunk drivers and underage drinkers? Why is
beer, relative to liquor and wine, disproportionately consumed in hazardous
- Why should we cut beer taxes in
half when that would result in hundreds of additional deaths in drunk driving
and underage drinking incidents?
- Why should the beer industry get
a tax cut that’s even bigger than the profits it makes on underage beer
- Federal taxes on beer have been raised only once since
Harry Truman was president, and today’s tax rate is less than 30% of what it
would be had it only kept up with inflation. Given the enormous toll of
the nation’s existing alcohol-related public health and safety problems, why
should Congress add a tax cut to the free ride the beer industry has already
- A new poll reveals that Americans
– by a 2 to 1 margin (including a majority of drinkers) – oppose a beer tax roll
back. Why then should the U.S. Congress be considering this legislation?
- What empirical evidence exists to
show that beer industry “responsibility” campaigns have worked to reduce alcohol
problems in the last 20 years?
- Why hasn’t the beer industry
implemented 1999 Federal Trade Commission recommendations for new voluntary
advertising standards to reduce the appeal of beer advertising to underage
- Why are the beer industry’s
voluntary standards much weaker than those recently proposed by NBC for liquor
advertising on television?
** Tax cut = $1.7 billion
Calculation of profits
from underage drinking: Total retail sales of beer (2000) = $67.4 billion; beer
consumed by underage drinkers = 11.4% of $67.4 billion = $7.68
billion. Estimated profit on sales = 15%. Profit from underage drinking = 15%
of $7.68 billion = $ 1.15 billion.
For more information on this issue,
April 16, 2002