Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Taxes for one drug, none for another

Yesterday, the goverment ruled out raising the alcohol excise tax. Today, they've thrown the House into extraordinary urgency (which means they sit as long as it takes until the bill is passed) to immediately raise the excise tax on tobacco. The reasons given are the obvious ones - to make smokers pay the social cost of their actions, and discourage use. But those reasons are equally applicable to alcohol. The hypocrisy is astounding. But this is National we're talking about. And all that matters to them is votes. Thanks to years of campaigning and stigmatisation, few people smoke. But lots of people drink. You can target the small group, but not the bigger one. Its that simple.