Rick Santorum’s relationship with the beer industry

This guy either has an anti-Rick Santorum agenda or an anti-alcohol agenda…or both.

From 1995 through 2006, Rick Santorum was one of the upper chamber’s biggest beneficiaries of beer industry cash. Wholesalers, brewers, and their top executives filled Santorum’s coffers with at least $80,000 in campaign donations. And they got their money’s worth: Four times during his two Senate terms Santorum pushed to cut the beer excise tax by half, over the protests of economists and public health experts who say that a lower tax would lead to a loss of revenue and lives.

via Mother Jones.

 

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9 thoughts on “Rick Santorum’s relationship with the beer industry

  1. I’d say it’s more likely that the writer’s “agenda” is against the influence of corporate lobbying on policy. Especially when it comes to policy that runs counter to the interests of public health and fiscal soundness. Obviously lower excise taxes would help craft brewers, but I’m going to guess that most of the lobbying money in this area came from larger companies. A policy of tax benefits for new locally owned businesses and small businesses that increase the number of well-paid workers on payroll — that’s a policy that benefits craft brewing as well as the public good.

  2. Didn’t realize Rolling Rock and Keystone are “major breweries”. Nor did I realize that Rolling Rock and Keystone are “major breweries” in PA. I mean first they are brands of major breweries but second Keystone is MillerCoors and they don’t have a PA brewery and Rolling Rock is InBev and they brew it in NJ (though while Santorum was Senator it was brewed in Latrobe, PA), right?

  3. I don’t grasp the point you’re making, sorry. Rolling Rock and Keystone are small businesses? Or only businesses based in Pennsylvania stand to gain from a tax decrease? Not saying you’re wrong, I just don’t follow.

  4. Taxes in the US have been too high on all businesses, on individuals – good for Santorum. Cut the taxes, make a serious review of federal regulations regarding not only the beer industry, but the overall alcohol industry…indeed get the federal government out of alcohol enforcement as a whole….regulate interstate commerce to the minimal degree necessary to ensure fair trade between the states and in international commerce….otherwise it all should be left to the respective States to decide what they want. If state wants to eliminate the 3 tier system to allow for more direct commerce between the manfacturers and consumers/retailers so be it….let the ebb and flow of free enterprise have a true impact on the costs of products brought to the market, not the ever increasing costs of compliance with more and more government edicts.

  5. The issue here is not states’ rights. The beer excise tax rate was unchanged for 40 years. Taxes pay for things like police and medical costs in DUI accidents. A billion-dollar industry shelled out to try to increase profit — no shocker.

  6. All this “free market” blather about taxes and regulation completely ignores economic externalities. The free market doesn’t price in costs due to things like alcoholism, liver disease, and drunk driving accidents. Those are costs of alcohol consumption, but they’re not borne by the producers, distributors, or retailers. So the “price” is not the same as the cost – taxes or regulation are (at the moment) the most effective way to account for those external costs.

  7. “The free market doesn’t price in costs due to things like alcoholism, liver disease, and drunk driving accidents.”

    The free market should not have to bear these costs, but they do via onerous taxes and regulations, the costs of which they pass on to the consumer. I’ll take it a step further, taxpayers should not have to bear the burden of these costs either, though that also is certainly the case today and will be getting worse in the very near future.

    The entity responsible for bearing the burden of these costs is the individual that incurs them to begin with. No one forces a person to drink, no one compels a person to drive a car drunk, no one is compelled to drink in excess – let alone to an excess that causes damage to the liver. At some point we have to examine the fact that individuals who enage in certain activities have to be held to account fo their conduct and be held accountable for the costs such behavior incurs. The Alcoholic has many resources at his/her disposal to turn to that are not of big business, nor of taxpayer-supported government with which to address their illness, and find help to control it. The drunk driver has to be held to account for the harm he/she causes others through criminal laws and civil tort actions. The same applies to someone who sufferes liver damage from excessive cosumption of alcohol. Again, no one forced them to drink, but there are many who would be perfectly fine forcing others (businesses and individuals) at the brute force of government power to pay for the reckless individuals own voluntary personal choices.

    It is this entitlement thinking…this abuse of government power that is cause of so much that is wrong not just with the fiscal health of society, but with the moral and ethical health of society as well. Look at Greece, their society is breaking down exactly because of people who think like Matt…indeed the whole of Europe is in a deep crisis of massive proportions exactly because of people like Matt. The United States is headed in the same exact direction as Europe, only we are not doing so at the same breath-taking speed…yet – because of people like Matt. We must begin choosing freedom and private property rights over government and collectivism…or we will either be enslaved by government or anarchy…neither of which is anything close to a civil, free, and open society.

  8. Look, what has to happen is balance between the private and the collective. No one wants government telling them what to do at every turn, but it is ridiculous to think that you can hold individuals entirely responsible (monetarily) for their actions. If someone gets drunk, crashes their car, destroys some property and injures some people, do you really think we’re going to garnish that persons wages to pay for the ambulance and medics to help the injured, the hospital beds and medication, surgeries, etc. How about the debris all over the road? Law enforcement to direct traffic around the accident? Fixing light poles and power lines? Let alone paying for their own hospital bed? You’re bleeding a turnip at that point. Yeah, people need to be responsible, but this isn’t 1896, there are 315 million people in this country and chances are when you do something, it affects multiple people over time in ways that are not quantifiable. This isn’t about entitlements. I’m tired of this right wing railing about entitlements. It’s just another spin word to try to dehumanize people. Everyone gets entitlements in the form of tax breaks, or tax shelters. Sure, taxes are too high on small businesses, but not on corporations with their billions in profits. They can chip in a little more, but they are the ones who know how to cheat the system by, hmmm, paying off politicians? Come on, this right wing horsesh*t is every bit as pie in the sky as the far left vision of utopia where we all just get along and incentives don’t matter.

  9. “If someone gets drunk, crashes their car, destroys some property and injures some people, do you really think we’re going to garnish that persons wages to pay for the ambulance and medics to help the injured, the hospital beds and medication, surgeries, etc.”

    Wage garnishments may not pay for all of it, but yes to the extent it can be done in addition to jail time…absolutely there should be significant consequences for such poor decision-making that causes harm to others…this the essence of personal accountability.

    “I’m tired of this right wing railing about entitlements. It’s just another spin word to try to dehumanize people.”

    Not in the least. It is the ultimate in recognizing that we are human, and that as a free and independent being we each are 100% accoutable for what we do and how we do it. When we do as progressives to in lumping people into groups/catagories/statistical numbers it is THEN we dehumanize them. No longer is John Smith to the world, in progressive speak John Smith becomes Citizen #10001A1 of this group or that group and thus entitled to this or that and denied acces the that or this because some asshat in government has declared it to be so. It is through progressive thought that the individual becomes marginalized and de-emphazised…and the collective’s obedience to the State becomes all important…and in that kind of incubator all hope of liberty is plainly murdered by default.

    “Everyone gets entitlements in the form of tax breaks, or tax shelters.” Sadly you are quite correct, and it is these things that must end…for this is the drug government hooks us on to lead us down the path to control. We see everywhere…agriculture, manufacturing, and even directed at individuals both rich and poor. We can’t afford it anymore, and our freedom can’t co-exist with this indefinitely…eventually we must choose between government succor or individual liberty – a point I think we are rapidly approaching here in the US, and Europe has already reached.

    “Come on, this right wing horsesh*t is every bit as pie in the sky as the far left vision of utopia”

    No. We are endowed with our creators with inalienable rights….the right is very much about preserving those natural or God-given rights, the Left is about surrendering those rights to government. There is no middle ground, though many like you think there is. Either you agree that we are free and our rights are OURS from God and our private property we earn is OURS, or you believe that our rights come from government and it can tinker with them as it pleases when it pleases to whatever ends it thinks is best for us and they can confiscate the fruits of hard work of one person to give to another person who has not or often chooses not to do anything to earn the forcibly taken gift.

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