I’m sure that Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan’s heart is in the right place. He thinks a 7o% increase in the price of pre-mixed alcoholic drinks, like Bacardi Breezers and Vodka Cruisers, is going to decrease the amount of binge drinking that teenagers do. I’m not so convinced. Probably the best he can hope for is that he’ll reduce the consumption of Bacardi Breezers and Stolis, which isn’t such a bad thing. Those things are as much an embarrassment to quality alcohol as cask wine is.
He also thinks that it’s going to net the government an extra $3billion in revenue. I’ve got a suspicion though that these figures are based on the amount of these drinks sold now. I know you’ve got to be a little bit smart to be a politician, but I really have little faith in their ability with calculations, or even their honesty in generating them.
The Opposition, meanwhile, reckon that the move will only encourage teenagers to move to drinks with a higher alcohol content, or onto drugs. They’re fooling themselves too. Anyone should be able to see that that’s a knee jerk logic jump worthy of a creationist. It’s like saying “don’t encourage people to give up smoking, it will lead them to start injecting heroin.”
If pollies really want to cut the amount of drinking people do, maybe they should take a bit of a look at the ways in which smoking rates have been reduced: legislation and education. When I was a smoker, the price of cigarettes did absolutely nothing to deter me from having a puff. Even when I was unemployed and broke I managed to get my daily nicotine fix.