If the state suggested that everyone would be forced to pay more to buy potatoes because there are some who eat too many of them, thereby harming only themselves, I reckon the proposition would be opposed by just about everyone in the country.
Who wants to pay more for their own goods because a very few are irresponsible?
So what's the difference with minimum alcohol pricing? No, really, I mean it. Why are so many average, everyday, non-righteous in most circumstances, people taken in by this crap?
Because doctors say so? Perhaps, but then doctors said the MMR vaccine was perfectly safe yet hundreds of thousands of mothers were quite willing to ignore them.
Because the country has a 'problem'? It doesn't, of course, but how does that affect anyone but the user?
The public has been suckered into believing the twin menace of a tangible cost to their own finances via national insurance contributions, and a threat of alcohol-fuelled violence to them and theirs.
The former is imaginary, and the latter isn't the prime target of minimum alcohol pricing.
I type till I'm blue in the fingers about the futility of such nonsense, and Tim Worstall, again, has produced something of a reference resource for use in rebutting any argument used by faux-fretting deludos.
Indeed.A group of experts convened by the organisation [...] has spent almost two years studying how best to reduce alcohol-related disorders, which between them cost an estimated £27bn a year.The direct costs are more than offset by the £8.4 billion HMRC gets in booze duty (think it's nearer £10bn but who's quibbling?).
That figure covers the cost of healthcare, crime, disorder and lack of productivity attributable to alcohol, including the £2.7n the NHS spends treating the chronic and acute effects of drinking.
The indirect costs have to be offset by the joy and glory that people get from consuming alcohol. Estimating this is not simple but we can indeed put a lower bound to it. As people voluntarily hand over their cash for the buzz from having drunk the alcohol, this joy and glory must be worth at least what is paid for the alcohol which produces the joy and glory. That’s somewhere north of £50 billion a year.
The benefits are therefore larger than the costs: we do not have a problem here.
NICE aren't, you notice, claiming that anyone will be any safer by punishing heavy drinkers, just that yer average Joe will benefit financially. Yet who in their right mind really believes that even if these mythical 'costs' to the NHS or the Police were reduced, the savings would be handed back to the public in their payslips?
Anyone? Is that a hand up at the back? No?
Quite apart from the fact that national insurance payments haven't been hypothecated simply to pay for healthcare for some considerable time - they just go into the big pool of government pocket money - if the £2.7bn was eradicated tomorrow, they'd just direct those funds somewhere else. NI rates will come down once the economy can afford it, and that ain't happening anytime soon. And most certainly not because minimum alcohol pricing stops a few (and I mean a very few) drinking a couple of pints less per week.
The policing precept amounts to less than 10% of council tax bills in general, so even if policing itself was eradicated tomorrow the maximum saving per household would only be around a tenner a month; savings from patrolling drinkers in the High Street at weekends would amount to pennies, if at all. That's if it was passed on to the taxpayer, which is highly unlikely.
The productivity in business? A red herring. These are 'sunk' costs which are anticipated by most industries. If absenteeism was eradicated tomorrow, businesses would be more lean, yes, but they wouldn't produce cheaper goods unless they shed staff to do so, and you can imagine the whining that would ensue if that were to happen. Of course, harking back to the economy bit, if such jobs were lost, it would mean even less chance of national insurance rates being reduced.
So, to anyone who tells you that 'we' need minimum alcohol pricing because 'we' have a problem, I ask this question:
What on earth has it got to do with you? How will it benefit you, or the country at large?
The simple answer is that it won't, and as Tim explains (please read the whole piece), there isn't a problem in the first place.
All that will happen is that the public will be asked to pay more for something in order for others to be stopped from doing as they choose to. Everyone loses.
Oh yeah, and it's also illegal under EU law.
It's a veritable smorgasbord of bollocks, isn't it?