As usual, I'm "attending" to about seventy-five different things at once (write a thousand words today, pick up milk and eggs, think about commissioned piece on beer, acknowledge husband's existence, get some exercise, figure out what to fix for dinner, etc. etc. etc.....)
So: am not doing the greatest job in the world of paying attention to the Big Important Stuff -- but: it's not lost on me that a good number of state legislatures are turning their attention to revenue: how and where to get it. (In you've not heard the news, the state of California is nearly broke and will lay off about 20,000 employees this week. The state of Kansas can't meet its payroll on Friday. And so on....) [Correction: The state of California has told 20,000 employees that they may be terminated; it has not yet laid them off.]
No surprise, all of a sudden those "sin" taxes exude allure and charm. As we all know, cigarettes have taken the brunt of the "we need money so let's tax a sin" in the past few years.
Now it's apparently alcohol's turn. Many states are considering many options when it comes to taxing beer (and other forms of alcohol). But some of the best news coverage of such an attempt is coming out of Oregon.
And then for an excellent commentary on that activity, see Jeff Alworth at Blue Oregon. (*1)
As always, be sure to read the dozens of comments that Jeff's piece provoked. Jacob Grier, who also lives in Portland, is covering these developments from a different perspective, one that's worth thinking about. Also see his (only slightly) tongue-in-cheek idea for his share of the "stimulus" package.
[Added after the fact: When I originally posted this entry, I neglected to include a link to Patrick Emerson's blog; he, too, is discussing the economics of beer and taxes. He's got many entries on the topic, so here's a link to his blog, and then rummage around for the relevant content.]
To change the subject somewhat: Again, the commentary from Jeff and Jacob [and Patrick] are great examples of the upside to blogging, the internet, and the digitization of modern life. Back in the days of p.i.e. (*2), I wouldn't have known about either of them, and it's unlikely they would have had access to such a broad audience.
*1: Jeff typically surfaces here at my blog in his capacity at the blogger at Beervana, but in his "other life," he writes about politics at Blue Oregon.
*2: PIE = pre-internet era