Should really Alcoholic beverages Taxes Pay For Mental Well being Applications? Do the Math

Enhancing the Psychological Wellbeing System

In accordance to a information release that was dated Could 9, 2006, the “Standing Senate Committee On Social Affairs, Science and Know-how” in Canada advised the generation of a Canadian Mental Overall health Commission that will be responsible for considerably upgrading the Canadian mental well being method. As stated by Senator Michael Kirby, the Chair of the Committee, “The Senate Committee is fully commited to bettering the assortment, top quality and group of health and fitness and assistance services that are expected by the tens of hundreds of Canadians who are living with mental health problems and addictions.”

Funding The Proposed Change

Primarily based on an extensive a few-calendar year analyze on psychological wellness and addiction, the Committee established that it will cost $5.36 billion around a 10-year interval for this mental wellness procedure update. Where will these funds appear from? In accordance to the Committee, the profits will come from elevating the excise tax on alcoholic drinks by 5 cents per drink.

Section of the rationale for the 5-cent improve for every drink was clearly the intention of boosting the necessary funds for the proposed variations in the psychological health and fitness program. A different justifying variable for the value raise, nevertheless, was the reality that since each alcoholic consume will cost a lot more, Canadians will be extra inclined to consume lessen-alcoholic beverages products and solutions these kinds of as beer and wine rather of liquor.

Let us Do the Math

At to start with glance, this proposal looks to make sense. Why should not those people who drink aid finance a method that will present them with a improved mental health program? Why not permit those people who are part of the “issue” become element of the “answer”? This logic appears seem until eventually you do the math. If $5.36 billion is needed to assist finance the upgraded mental well being procedure, then how numerous drinks will have to be consumed in a 10-yr period of time to arrive at $5.36 billion pounds? The response: 107,200,000,000 beverages. Which is 107 billion, 200 million drinks.

To arrive at how numerous beverages this is per year, all we have to do is divide this range by 10 (for the 10-yr method) and the consequence is 10,720,000,000. This is however a substantial quantity that luckily can be “massaged” even extra. According to The Planet Factbook website, the populace of Canada was approximated to be 33 million individuals in 2006. Dividing 10,720,000,000 by 33,000,000 equals 325. Putting this in conditions that the common human being can realize, every man, female, and baby in Canada will have to take in 325 alcoholic beverages for each 12 months for the subsequent ten a long time to finance the new psychological health system! Simply set, these numbers are not real looking.

Extra Flaws

The “logic” of this proposed psychological well being method also breaks down when it is examined extra deeply. For occasion, why would people consume reduced-liquor products and solutions this kind of as beer if the improved excise tax applies to all alcoholic drinks? To assistance realize this far better, let us use an illustration. Let’s say that the regular shot in Canada currently fees $3.00 and the ordinary beer expenditures $1.00. Based on the proposed price tag boost, if Joe drinks an average of 5 photographs per week, his weekly normal alcoholic beverages expenditure will be $15.25. When the numbers are calculated, this figures out to be 1.7% a lot more than Joe would have invested before the proposed tax improve. Let’s do a equivalent workout with beer. Dependent on the projected price tag raise, if Pete drinks an common of 5 beers per week, his weekly normal liquor expenditure will be $5.25. When the numbers are calculated, this figures out to be 5% additional than Pete would have used prior to the proposed tax maximize. The stage: since the proposed cost maximize affects greater-alcoholic beverages products and solutions (this kind of as pictures) proportionately fewer than their reduce-alcohol counterparts (these types of as beer), why would Canadians change to decreased-alcoholic beverages items?

Liquor and Psychological Wellbeing

One more issue. What if tens of hundreds of Canadians, noticing that drinking alcohol is not good for their “mental overall health,” noticeably minimize their alcoholic beverages ingestion or quit consuming alcoholic drinks entirely? Wherever will the funds come from to offset this lack of revenue? In a very similar fashion, what if hundreds on 1000’s of Canadians who consume alcoholic beverages make a decision that they do not want to pay out the extra excise tax and, as a final result, quit ingesting alcoholic beverages? If this takes place, wherever will the govt get the income wanted to renovate the mental health and fitness method? In other text, does the Canadian government have a real looking “prepare B” for this major transformation?

A Logical Contradiction

From a different point of view, is just not it somewhat ironic that these who drink alcoholic beverages will fork out for the revamped psychological overall health method? Isn’t there a contradiction in logic someplace in this proposal? Said differently, if tens of 1000’s of Canadians have psychological diseases or are addicted to alcohol or medicines, wouldn’t the authorities want Canadians to consume Fewer liquor in purchase to decrease the current alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol-relevant mental health and fitness difficulties? Nonetheless according to the present mental overall health proposal, from strictly a economic standpoint, it would appear that the Canadian governing administration is banking the entire mental health technique enhance on historical details that strongly implies that Canadians will proceed to drink at their current or even increased levels of consumption.

Budgetary Miscalculations

What comes about, for occasion, if there are price overruns in the proposed mental well being method? There are, of program, two “effortless” solutions to this problem: boost the excise tax on just about every drink or encourage Canadians to drink even additional alcoholic drinks. Possibly “option,” nonetheless, is predicated on the truth that in get to “perform,” the upgraded mental health and fitness process requires to be funded by Canadians who continue on to drink alcoholic beverages.


It seems rational to conclude that the Canadian mental overall health technique is in will need of a main overhaul. As with most thorough federal government packages, on the other hand, the problem of funding turns into a major obstacle to prevail over. The proposed Canadian psychological well being system enhance is no exception. Primarily based on the causes provided earlier mentioned, it appears obvious that the Canadian authorities requires to arrive up with alternate resources of income technology for this worthwhile task. In fact, to level out 1 of the important “flaws” in the existing proposal, contemplate the following issue: When is a lot more drinking a “great detail?” Reply: when it funds a nationwide mental health procedure upgrade. Some thing tells me that Andy Rooney from “60 Minutes” would have a whole lot of enjoyment with this.

Copyright 2007 – Denny Soinski. All Legal rights Reserved All over the world. Reprint Rights: You may perhaps reprint this post as very long as you depart all of the one-way links energetic, do not edit the article in any way, and give the writer credit history.

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