Over a century after her death in 1911, Carrie Nation and her teetotaling, hatchet-wielding terrorist spirit stoutly lives on among the bizarro liberal elitists at New York magazine.
New York mag writer Annie Lowrey, Ezra Klein’s wife, has figured a way to make Prohibition totally work this time. Her plan is to slap onerous taxes on alcohol and sell more marijuana in order to fight a campus rape epidemic she admits does not exist.
“Tax the frat boys for their beer and booze,” she urges, “lower the price of pot, and make campuses a far safer place.”
A safer place than what? Well, it’s hazy.
Lowrey admits that crime rates are on the decline.
She admits that Rolling Stone’s story by disgraced journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely about a gang rape at the University of Virginia was a complete hoax. (RELATED: Rolling Stone’s Bumbling UVA Rape Detective)
She agrees that the once fleetingly-touted statistic that 1 in 5 college women suffers a sexual assault has been utterly debunked. The real college sexual assault figure is actually 0.6 percent. That’s 6 in 1,000. (RELATED: Here Are EIGHT Campus Rape Hoaxes Eerily Like The UVA Rape Story)
Nevertheless, America is not a badness-free utopia. And so Lowrey hilariously makes the case for substantially higher taxes on alcohol because, after all, crimes do still occur.
Odious taxes “are a surprisingly powerful tool to stem alcohol abuse and binge drinking,” she argues. “And they have tremendous knock-on effects on crime rates.”
Strangely, the New York writer fails to contend with the effects of Prohibition — that 13-year ban on alcohol sales which sought “to stem alcohol abuse and binge drinking” completely. Say, why didn’t that work?
But Lowrey is undaunted. Much like Carrie Nation and the prohibitionists of a century ago, Lowrey believes higher alcohol prices will lead to less drinking on campus, which will lead to fewer rapes, fewer other crimes and the reduction of a slew of other social maladies (automobile accidents, suicide and even, by God, “the transmission of gonorrhea”).
“Study after study has shown that ‘higher prices or taxes were associated with a lower prevalence of youth drinking,'” the journalist insists.
Lowrey, who majored in English and American literature at Harvard University, appears to have little training in economics.
This lack of training could have caused the fancypants Harvard graduate to ignore the effects of her tax proposal on poor people (who didn’t even go to college!). However, it doesn’t seem like a leap even for even a grossly sheltered American literature expert such as Lowrey to understand that a tax on alcohol affects all users of alcohol — not just middle-class and wealthy college kids.
As the Beer Institute (yes, there is such an entity) explains, taxes on alcohol are some of the most unfair taxes in the United States.
Rich people who pay dearly for pale ale at Whole Foods barely notice alcohol taxes. On the other hand, poor people who work in factories and small-town beauty salons do notice such taxes. They buy Milwaukee’s Best because it’s on sale.
In the real world, outside of Harvard Yard and the dinner parties Lowrey attends, households with yearly incomes below $50,000 pay half of all beer taxes. Yet the collective income of those households is less than 25 percent of all of America’s income. Thus, alcohol taxes already discriminate against the hoi polloi Lowrey never sees at a tremendously high level.
What’s more, alcohol taxes are already tremendously high in many places. In Tennessee, for example, beer is taxed at the rate of $1.17 per gallon, according to CNN. On top of state (and local) excise taxes, there is a federal excise tax of close to 60 cents per gallon.
But Lowrey is undaunted. “Further studies have linked high prices for beer to lower chances of young individuals ‘taking advantage of another person sexually or having been taken advantage of sexually,'” she writes.
So, in a nutshell, Lowrey proposes that poor people must pay higher taxes on alcohol because some drunk rich kid may take advantage of some other drunk rich kid at some party at some expensive college.
But have no fear! Lowrey believes she can selectively tax college students.
“Add extra levies on the purchase of large amounts of alcohol, like kegs or handles,” she blithely suggests. Because what college kid could get around that law?
“Slap fees on liquor stores that are located near college campuses. Ban the sale of alcohol near schools,” she adds, apparently operating under the illusion that rich college kids are bereft of automobiles.
The kicker in Lowrey’s argument comes in the penultimate paragraph, when she suggests — based on even “thinner and shakier” studies — that college students will substitute marijuana if they are priced out of the market for alcohol. Thus, she triumphantly concludes, governments should price poor people out of beer because it may encourage rich students to sit around and get stoned, which, in some “thinner and shakier” way, may lead to “lower rates of violent crime.”