Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Taxing a different kind of drink

Matthew Yglesias says that in a few years, Washington is going to need more tax revenue, and that the thing to tax more heavily will be drinks. Not sugary, drinks, though. He quotes Mark Kleiman:

Taxing a different kind of drink

Matthew Yglesias says that in a few years, Washington is going to need more tax revenue, and that the thing to tax more heavily will be drinks. Not sugary, drinks, though. He quotes Mark Kleiman:

The average excise tax (Federal plus state) on a can of beer is about a dime. The average damage done by that can of beer to people other than its drinker is closer to a dollar. Those costs consist mostly of crimes, accidents and the health care costs redistributed through insurance—and the one-dollar figure doesn’t count the costs to the families and friends of drinkers.

(To be clear, the quote focuses on beer, but Yglesias is talking about alcohol in general.)

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Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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