Final Word

Posted April 8, 2010 in News

You’re not paying enough for booze!

That’s according to Kent and Josephine Whitney of San Diego, who have introduced the "Alcohol-Related Harm and Damage Services Act of 2010,” an initiative they’re trying to get on this November’s California state ballot.

Talk about buzz kills: The Whitneys have proposed a 2,700 percent tax increase for hard liquor, a 5,500 percent increase for beer, and a whopping 12,775 percent increase for wine! 

To put it in perspective, the tax on the average six-pack of beer would skyrocket from six cents to $6.08. And say goodbye to Trader Joe’s two-buck chuck—a tax on a 750 ml bottle of wine would go from four cents to $5.11. “Seven-dollar chuck” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but would still come with all the regrettable late-night decisions and next-day hangovers we’ve grown to love.

The good news is this initiative doesn’t have a chilled margarita’s chance in hell of getting on the ballot because the Whitneys need 433,971 signatures from registered voters by Aug. 23. Their best bet is to hang around after last call and offer soused bar goers a free Captain Morgan t-shirt for their signatures. It may also help if Josephine Whitney wears a V-string bikini.

Look you two, maybe you haven’t noticed, but everything in the world pretty much sucks giant prickly donkey balls right now and alcohol is the closest thing we have to a Hot Tub Time Machine to break on through to a brighter, shinier tomorrow. Between unemployment, the housing market and seven-point-uh-oh earthquakes rattling the bejesus out of another third-world country, forgetting about our troubles with my two friends, Jack and Coke, seems like a pretty good alternative.

And granted, yes, some people do abuse alcohol. But people abuse all sorts of things—modeling glue, for example—and curiously I don’t see you picketing outside of hobby shops demanding a 10,000 percent tax increase on the sale of snap-together toy airplanes.

Alcohol by itself is not evil. For example, beer is awesome. In fact, it took me three beers just so I could finish reading all nine freaking pages of your proposed alcohol initiative. Seriously Whitneys, nine pages? You do realize that’s like seven more pages than the amount of signatures you’re going to collect?

Where do you even get a number like a 5,500 percent tax increase for beer? You’re not building hotels on Monopoly’s Park Place. Nobody this side of Dr. Evil is going to vote for a 5,500 percent tax on anything unless it’s a fine on those with clipboards wasting other people’s time.

What you’re proposing is essentially Prohibition through taxation. You remember Prohibition, don’t you? A simpler time during the 1920s when gangsters used to line up their competitors against the wall and mow them in half with Tommy Guns. The good ol’ days when moonshiners used to brew their illegal gin in metal bathtubs, and if their unregulated fiery concoctions didn’t explode in their faces and burn down entire city blocks, they were just as likely to blind their customers or leave them half-dead. Gosh, who wouldn’t want to return to a golden era like that?

Now I’ll be the first to agree that California is probably the worst run state in the nation. And you know you’ve hit rock bottom when you’re getting pointed and laughed at by the likes of Kentucky, Arkansas and North Dakota. North Dakota! It’s where Canada drives to dump its trash!

But if you’ve got a desk full of paper clips and yellow highlighters and you’re just raring to fix something with a ballot initiative, how about finding a realistic way to bring more jobs back to California, improve our schools, hospitals and freeways while reducing wasteful spending in Sacramento? 

I know. I know. The argument, of course, is that an alcohol tax would raise an estimated $9 billion dollars annually that could fund new schools, hospitals and freeways. But then again, nobody could afford to drink liquor anymore so we’d eventually go crazy from too much cranberry juice and burn down all the schools, hospitals and freeways.  

Just thinking about it makes me need a drink with a tiny umbrella.


Contact Jeff Girod at



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