How stupid and intrusive can government possibly get? Pretty stupid and intrusive, it turns out. The latest outrage is a plan by Australia's health fascists to raise taxes on cheap wine so people will stop getting drunk on it.
Using big boy words they must have learned from a consultant, someone at the Australian National Preventative Health Agency wants to establish a 'floor price' for cheap wine, below which it won't go. First off, can you believe there even IS such an agency, and that you're paying for it?
But that is not our main point. Our main point is that the agency should butt out of people's private lives. One of life's great pleasures is cheap wine. The hangover the next day is not so pleasant, of course. But this is life.
The agency is worried about the harmful effects of drinking too much cheap wine. It reckons, that pricing is, 'recognised as one of the most effective measures to reducing alcohol-related harm.' As much as we'd like to congratulate them on this stupendous insight, the best we can say is, 'duh!'
Of course making things more expensive discourages people from buying them. In this case, the Feds want to put the cheap wine makers out of business to save the livers of people who didn't ask for any saving. But if they take cheap wine into oblivion, the truly hard up will find a substitute. Rubbing alcohol, mouthwash, and moonshine are just a few.
But the principle of the thing is what matters here. Using the tax system to coerce people into behaviour YOU think they should be following isn't just busy-body meddling. It's a slow-motion assault on a free society. It's always done in the name of your best interests. But it always results in you having less choice, more rules to follow, and higher taxes to pay.
What we ought to do is abolish the Australian National Preventative Health Agency and use the money saved to buy everyone a drink. Then we can all toast to being adults, living with our own choices, being responsible for our own actions, and enjoying as much cask wine as we like before we all die. We'll drink to that!
for The Daily Reckoning Australia