Chris R.
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"...as (Pennsylvania's) liquor privatization plan continued to wend its way through the legislature, a powerful and well-funded opponent emerged earlier this year—the federal Centers for Disease Control. The fact that federal tax dollars are being used to lobby for state regulations is problematic to begin with. Even more troubling is that the CDC's public health warnings about privatizing liquor sales are knowingly based on junk science. The agency is also underwriting the forces of neo-prohibitionism by doling out grants from a $12.5 billion slush fund created by the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare."

"The stimulus bill contained a $373 million Prevention and Wellness Fund to dole out grants to community organizations to 'create healthier communities across the nation through innovative and proven approaches.' But that's chump change compared with the billions allocated to Obamacare's Prevention and Public Health fund. Initially, the fund was given $12.5 billion, but starting in 2022 the fund will be given $2 billion a year. ... The abuse of these grant programs isn't just confined to alcohol, either. The CDC has a broad agenda involving obesity, tobacco, nutrition, and other politically correct health issues that the agency is trying to implement with tax dollars. ...a front for lobbying, government propaganda, and cronyism."

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/new-prohibitionists_7...

...

"...some of that money is going for everything from massage therapists who offer 'calming techniques,' to groups advocating higher state and local taxes on tobacco and soda, and stricter zoning restrictions on fast-food restaurants."

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/05/30/obamacares-s...

Hmm, maybe for some people a glass of wine, a can of beer, a soft drink, a cigarette, a cigar, or a trip to a fast food restaurant is their version of a massage therapists' calming technique.

Of course, when you turn health care over to a bunch of governmental do-gooders they are going to want to limit choices to cut costs on things like alcoholism and type 2 diabetes. I guess this good-intentioned Road to Hell must be paved without alcohol, sugar, and excessive fat and cholesterol.

...

Charming ads cut by the United Food and Commercial Workers of Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Council, the public sector union that represents government liquor sellers -- to dissuade lawmakers from privatizing liquor sales, 80 years after the end of Prohibition.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ftk9K7WhMf4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qCfNXJgoYA

It looks like someone is desperate not lose their ... monopoly money.

...

"Why is the CDC Being Anti-Science on State Liquor Privatization?"

http://reason.org/blog/show/cdc-liquor-privatization

A government organization manipulating science and statistics to limit freedom?
How can this ever be?
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Boaty McBoatface
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I can see why they would think prevention is better then a cure, but some of this does appear (at least according to the spin put on it by you and your sources) that this is edging over onto political lobbying.

As to the terribly middle class "cures", this also does not surprise me. I have disliked funding 'fad medicine' for a long time now. Medical treatments should be decided by doctors, not people who have done a correspondence course in parting fools from there money.

Interestingly in the UK (I have no idea about the land of the fee) the right are just as much at fault over this as the left, it may manifest itself in different way (such as giving people education vouchers so they can get qualification in flower arranging), but the result is still the same, jobs for workshy college graduates.
 
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Jon Badolato
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Personally, I don't mind seeing liquor sold by states rather than private enterprise. More than likely it is the state that is eventually going to have to foot the bill for treatments of medical conditions that can result from excessive alcohol consumption.

I highly doubt that if one needs treatment for alcohol addiction that the Jack Daniels Company or Becks Company etc... is going to offer to help out financially with the treatment.

But then again I am not a big drinker by any means so the government and private industry would be out of the alcohol business if they were just selling to me.
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Donald
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Surprisingly, Chris's jumping to conclusions without looking into it has failed him again.

First, the fight for liquor privatization here in PA has been going on forever. The eternal struggle between Dems trying to keep their union cronies happy and Repubs trying to make money for their cronies who would open liquor stores and the kickbacks they would get from them. Small steps have been made, grocery stores with a little cafe can sell six packs now, but this fight began long before Obama was getting his Muslim training in Kenya and will continue for a long after Dick Cheney has stopped eating puppies to prolong his life.

As for "the CDC’s public health warnings about privatizing liquor sales are knowingly based on junk science." It's not the CDC's report, it is Community Preventive Services Task Force, which is separate from the CDC. CPSTF get's grants from the CDC, but they are not part of it. If the science is good or not, lets see some peer review.

For your Sunday reading:

http://www.thecommunityguide.org/alcohol/privatization.html

The CDC does have restrictions on grant getters lobbying, but without know what was done we can't really say if it was lobbying or just "hey, look at this"

http://www.cdc.gov/od/pgo/funding/grants/additional_req.shtm...

The CDC has been concerned about alcohol for 12 years now:

http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/about.htm


And finally, it is the "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" so "The CDC has a broad agenda involving obesity, tobacco, nutrition, and other politically correct health issues" seems in it's purview.


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Kelsey Rinella
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You have a dilemma here, Chris. Either government monopolies on alcohol sales reduce alcohol consumption or they don't. If they do, then these policies about which you're complaining are likely to benefit society in just they way they're intended and your preferred news sources are deliberately trying to make you disbelieve a true result which is founded on the interpretation of scientific results by scientists rather than journalists.

But suppose government monopolies do not reduce alcohol consumption. Then we are forced to admit that government monopolies are just as effective as markets involving private enterprise.

Which horn would you like?
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Leo Zappa
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rinelk wrote:
You have a dilemma here, Chris. Either government monopolies on alcohol sales reduce alcohol consumption or they don't. If they do, then these policies about which you're complaining are likely to benefit society in just they way they're intended and your preferred news sources are deliberately trying to make you disbelieve a true result which is founded on the interpretation of scientific results by scientists rather than journalists.

But suppose government monopolies do not reduce alcohol consumption. Then we are forced to admit that government monopolies are just as effective as markets involving private enterprise.

Which horn would you like?


As a lifelong resident of PA (with a short stint in Virginia) and world traveler, I can vouch for the fact that even with the institution of the "state store" (plus beer distributorships - you can't buy a beer at a 7-11 or super market in PA), Pennsylvania has at least as many drunks as anywhere else I've ever traveled. The "state stores" and "beer distributors" don't do anything to reduce drunkeness - all they do is placate a bunch of prehistoric puritans in Harrisburg, and provide some income to the state (state stores) and to a niche collection of cronies (beer distributors). Health is about the last thing on anyone's mind when it comes to the issue of alcohol distribution in the Keystone State.
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Chief Slovenly
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Wait! Wait! I know this one! Pick me! Pick me!

fenners wrote:


You know, I so didn't expect there to be a rational straightforward explanation of the details behind the story in this thread, and that it ends up being something not at all like the first post. That never happens in these kind of threads. Ever.

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Chief Slovenly
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desertfox2004 wrote:
rinelk wrote:
You have a dilemma here, Chris. Either government monopolies on alcohol sales reduce alcohol consumption or they don't. If they do, then these policies about which you're complaining are likely to benefit society in just they way they're intended and your preferred news sources are deliberately trying to make you disbelieve a true result which is founded on the interpretation of scientific results by scientists rather than journalists.

But suppose government monopolies do not reduce alcohol consumption. Then we are forced to admit that government monopolies are just as effective as markets involving private enterprise.

Which horn would you like?


As a lifelong resident of PA (with a short stint in Virginia) and world traveler, I can vouch for the fact that even with the institution of the "state store" (plus beer distributorships - you can't buy a beer at a 7-11 or super market in PA), Pennsylvania has at least as many drunks as anywhere else I've ever traveled. The "state stores" and "beer distributors" don't do anything to reduce drunkeness - all they do is placate a bunch of prehistoric puritans in Harrisburg, and provide some income to the state (state stores) and to a niche collection of cronies (beer distributors). Health is about the last thing on anyone's mind when it comes to the issue of alcohol distribution in the Keystone State.


Similarly, here in MA, there was a ballot measure a while back to open up liquor sales and distribution. Currently the wet/dry laws are by county (I'm guessing), so that in many counties you can only get booze through a regular liquor store and not through groceries, gas stations, etc.

Let me tell you as an emigre from deepest hick California: this sucks balls. It's had a nice side effect where some specialty liquor stores (like Marty's) really know their booze/beer, have 4 or 5 racks of wines, in-store delis, etc. But if you just want to head over to the local convenience store and pick up a 6 of something, it's screw you.

Back to the ballot measure - it was a to-do over here -- where the anti-forces mustered up a lot of former law enforcement types in their advertising, saying that widening the distribution of alcohol would be a drunkenness apocalypse... when the real issue was that the established liquor sellers were agin it. Increasing the competition and all that.

And I'm still left with a single bottle of Left Hand Milk Stout on a Satan's-left-nut-hot Sunday.

Edited to reflect that this is all that Kenyan Usurper Nobummer's fault.
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Satan Himself
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Yes I am.
 
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Josh
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Seriously, Fuck Corbett. Pa liqour stores make the state good revenue. he has been systematically selling off things that make Pa money to cronies while bemoaning the lack of funds for the budget. He doesn't have a chance at re-election. Even the most die hard of PSU supporters thought his suit against the NCAA was a blatent attempt to curry favor that didn't impress anyone.
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rinelk wrote:
You have a dilemma here, Chris. Either government monopolies on alcohol sales reduce alcohol consumption or they don't. If they do, then these policies about which you're complaining are likely to benefit society in just they way they're intended and your preferred news sources are deliberately trying to make you disbelieve a true result which is founded on the interpretation of scientific results by scientists rather than journalists.

But suppose government monopolies do not reduce alcohol consumption. Then we are forced to admit that government monopolies are just as effective as markets involving private enterprise.

Which horn would you like?



kicked fulla holes in one
 
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Kelsey Rinella
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
rinelk wrote:
You have a dilemma here, Chris. Either government monopolies on alcohol sales reduce alcohol consumption or they don't. If they do, then these policies about which you're complaining are likely to benefit society in just they way they're intended and your preferred news sources are deliberately trying to make you disbelieve a true result which is founded on the interpretation of scientific results by scientists rather than journalists.

But suppose government monopolies do not reduce alcohol consumption. Then we are forced to admit that government monopolies are just as effective as markets involving private enterprise.

Which horn would you like?


Government monopolies can be effective so long as they charge the market price. They're more likely to be effective than private monopolies as they have no shareholders to please other than the chancellor of the exchequer and indirectly the public.

I think his point is that alcohol consumption is inelastic in demand; people who are going to consume units of alcohol tend to consume the similar amount regardless of price. When alcohol prices rise peoples outlays on alcohol tend to rise with them. It's also unlikely that the government monopoly charges prices high enough to make a real difference to chronic alcohol related illnesses due to this. If the prices double, an alcoholic might cut his consumption but will still be spending enough to have sufficient units to cause himself liver problems. Moreover, as there's usually a range of prices per unit of alcohol he can switch to a cheaper form- from cheap vodka to frosty jacks etc.

So the government monopoly is a pain in the wallet for the normal consumer who wants to have a 6 pack at a barbecue at a time when money is tight, but unlikely to significantly impact a problem drinker.

So the effectiveness of the monopoly on problem drinking is set by the elasticities of demand for problem and non problem drinkers. If non problem drinkers are relatively elastic, alcohol sales will go down. But if problem drinkers spend almost all of their income on booze they won't cut their expenditure sufficiently to save their health. Sales go down but medical centres are as crowded as ever. There's a loss of surplus from the normal drinkers who can't afford what they used to get as well.

If both are inelastic, then sales are unchanged but income is transferred to government, which at least enables subsidisation of alcohol treatment although the broad based nature of the funding strikes me as somewhat inequitable- it's an effective flat tax.


There seem to be a lot of assumptions in that analysis, not all of which are true. For example, the chronic illnesses typically associated with alcoholism aren't all of the relevant effects. Non-problem drinkers also sometimes drive impaired or contribute to their obesity and all its attendant problems by consuming high-calorie beverages.
 
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Kelsey Rinella
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
It wasn't an analysis of the situation as it is, but as a rejoinder to the somewhat simplistic 'two horns' you put forward. I addressed the health issues related to alcohol simply because the OP has mentioned this is funded under a public health program and that is the context of this thread.

That being said, either people are not cutting their alcohol budget or they are. If they're not, then yes they will consume less alcohol but it's probably not enough to make a difference if someone is fat enough that they have health problems. If they are, then the money may well go on things which aren't necessarily healthier- illegal highs, junk food etc. You don't become obese simply because you like a drink now and then. 'You don't become obese by drinking a plentiful amount of beer. It requires a set of lifestyle decisions to have been made poorly. Changing what is at best a marginal influence is probably not going to impact the numbers of obese people turning up with heart conditions; if that's your problem then you're better off taxing junk food.

The number of people who drive impaired is unlikely to differ much either. When do people drive impaired? When they've gone to the pub or to a mates house. The first (from the OP) is unaffected, the second... well, it's unlikely that (assuming people spend less on alcohol) these are the events cut from the social calendar and these are also the times when people are more likely to drink heavily. In fact, one thing that may well occur is people drinking less often but more heavily when they do drink. People are less rational when they're drunk and another drink sounds awfully good, especially as you're only going out once every few weeks now.


You're making a lot of claims about effects which could, in principle, matter, but won't actually. These claims are unpersuasive because you've made up the reasons.
 
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Kelsey Rinella
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
rinelk wrote:
You're making a lot of claims about effects which could, in principle, matter, but won't actually. These claims are unpersuasive because you've made up the reasons.


I could respond that you're doing precisely that with your ridiculous 'beer is the cause of obesity' argument, but I'll settle for pointing out that the first part was just common sense on how people spend. If they can't afford alcohol they spend it on leisure activities. If they're your target demographic it will probably not be spent on multivitamins. It's already 'leisure money' as far as their budgeting is concerned.

As for the second, I'm extrapolating from where I live- we've had a couple of tax hikes on alcohol in real terms. People have been going out less but drinking more when they do. Less overall, but binging. The bit about drinking and driving is just common sense- how many people do you know who get drunk at home then go for a drive? How many people do you know who get drunk somewhere else then drive home? So the relevant factor there is how the reduced consumption influences consumption patterns. If people go out less then they may drink and drive less. I'm just not convinced the effect will be that large- people might just substitute drinking in pubs/clubs for predrinking at a friends then going out into town.


Beer has calories. It is literally impossible for drinking to fail to cause a person to be fatter than they would be if they drank water instead. By contrast, common sense licenses a wide variety of terrible inferences, including the assumption that people of my acquaintance are representative of everyone affected by these laws. Reasoning from well-established universal laws ought to seem more persuasive to you than reasoning from generalizations based on a single person's experience. That they seem precisely the same to you highlights the problem.
 
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J
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Also, black market sales, importing from another state/country, etc.
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Lee Fisher
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jarredscott78 wrote:
Also, black market sales, importing from another state/country, etc.


But it creates all those jobs policing NJ and DE borders for people buying liquor.
 
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Kelsey Rinella
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
rinelk wrote:
Reasoning from well-established universal laws


This is precisely what you've failed to do.

'Beer causes obesity'.

No, it does not. Being a sedentary pizza eater makes you obese. Beer alone won't get you there or every student on the face of the planet would be the size of a blimp.



It amuses me that your inability to use the built-in quote feature to find me saying that "beer causes obesity" didn't stop you from attributing that claim to me. You are, of course, absolutely right. Air causes obesity. Without air, nobody lives long enough to be obese.

Do you even know what a calorie is? I'm thinking about thermodynamics, and can't find any way around the actual claim I made.
 
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Chris R.
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Quote:
You have a dilemma here, Chris. Either government monopolies on alcohol sales reduce alcohol consumption or they don't. If they do, then these policies about which you're complaining are likely to benefit society in just they way they're intended and your preferred news sources are deliberately trying to make you disbelieve a true result which is founded on the interpretation of scientific results by scientists rather than journalists. But suppose government monopolies do not reduce alcohol consumption. Then we are forced to admit that government monopolies are just as effective as markets involving private enterprise. Which horn would you like?


I'm not sure what you are talking about.

I'm not talking about reducing alcohol consumption. I'm talking about freedom and keeping the federal government from messing around using taxpayer funds to advocate unfairly for one side in a state matter.

Most states don't have these weird laws.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholic_beverage_control_stat...

About the only time I care anything about a person's alcohol consumption is when they are operating a motorized vehicle.

Let's look at a chart regarding alcohol beverage freedom.

http://freedominthe50states.org/alcohol



Now let's look at a chart regarding Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities.



Let's look at my home state of Missouri and Pennsylvania, the state in question.

Missouri ranks #3 in Alcohol Beverage Freedom while Pennsylvania ranks #47.

However, Missouri ranks better than Pennsylvania in the category of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. In fact, 10 of the top 11 states with the most alcohol beverage freedom rank better than Pennsylvania.
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Kelsey Rinella
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sikeospi wrote:

Let's look at my home state of Missouri and Pennsylvania, the state in question.

Missouri ranks #3 in Alcohol Beverage Freedom while Pennsylvania ranks #47.

However, Missouri ranks better than Pennsylvania in the category of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. In fact, 10 of the top 11 states with the most alcohol beverage freedom rank better than Pennsylvania.


How about we don't just cherry-pick the data which support the position we like? If you just plug these numbers into a spreadsheet and calculate the correlation (taking the shadings for traffic fatalities as 1, 2, 3, and 4), you get -0.02. This is fantastically close to no correlation, and the very slight direction is just the opposite of what you've suggested.

Which isn't surprisingly at all, because there are so very many other factors which affect traffic fatalies/mile driven. What you might want to check would be traffic fatalities/mile for a few years before and after a change to law in a particular state (while normalizing for national trends). That would give you at least a little bit of power to investigate the influence of these laws. Instead, you've chosen a method of testing so poor that it could only show an effect by pure coincidence unless the effect were implausibly massive.

But, hey, there's an example of such a massive effect: alcohol was a factor in 60% of traffic fatalities before the drinking age rose to 21, and 37% after. Now, Euron's common sense probably tells him that raising the drinking age will just make teens who want to drink more likely to binge in those rare circumstances in which they feel they won't be caught, but that's why data matters.
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Josh
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For a state with no Alcoholic Freedom, we sure get plenty of it around this neck of the woods. And the gov't can make money on it for you know, services we need.

 
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
I've never met an obese person who was averse to a second helping of chips.


This is as effective a support for your claim as everything else.

Beer is high in calories and low in nutrients. The more high-calorie, low-nutrient foods/beverages we can discourage people from consuming, the more likely it is that they'll be replaced, if at all, with healthier alternatives which will contribute less to obesity.

If you'd like me to pre-emptively oversimplify that for you: beer made me fat, and I need the government to give me the beer company's money becasuse my pain and suffering is so bad and I can'thave sex with my wife no more.
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
And I'm not sure where you think the money is going to go when beer prices rise: Either people will divert money from elsewhere into their beer fund to keep buying the same amount, they will buy less but their beer fund is unchanged or they will divert money from beer and into other things- food, drink, transportation, video games.


I don't know what to say. "Where the money is going to go"? You're seriously treating this like rising prices free up funds?

I've bolded for you the most natural, simple-minded assumption, the one you'd need something vaguely resembling evidence to depart from. On that assumption, people will consume less alcohol, therefore fewer calories, therefore be less fat. Assuming no improvement in any of their many other stupid choices, people will be slimmer, healthier, and less costly to the health care system.

You don't seem to be trying to explain the thing I have the problem with, so perhaps I should make that clearer: why should anyone trust your common sense?

Here's a contrast case: I could make exactly the same sort of argument about switching from regular soda to diet. The natural assumption is that this is going to make people slimmer. In order to defeat that presumption, we need pretty substantial statistical evidence and some reasonable-sounding guesses about the mechanism. Much of this is under way right now, and there still isn't enough of a consensus that diet sodas are disappearing (which I assume we agree they would if it were widely believed that they contribute to obesity more than regular sodas). If someone were simply to have said, "It's just common sense that people who like soda are going to eat more calories when they switch to diet, more than compensating for the lost calories in the soda," without gathering some sort of data, absolutely no one would have believed that.
 
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
rinelk wrote:
I don't know what to say. "Where the money is going to go"? You're seriously treating this like rising prices free up funds?


Imagine the price of beer rises ten dollars overnight. Do you A) spend the same amount on beer as you did before but now drink far less, B) spend more but drink the same amount or C) stop buying beer and spend the money on other things.

Depending on how an individuals preferences are ordered any of the outcomes are possible.


Yes! Of course they're all possible. One of them requires the least complicated assumptions, and is the default: A. To justify assuming any of the others is so much more likely that A will occur in a negligible portion of the population requires evidence. You're telling us that the magic 8-ball of your intuition tells you that A matters so little and will be so rare that it doesn't matter. I both doubt your magic 8-ball and, independently, think it's a terrible kind of evidence, and every time I point this out you corroborate it by asking your magic 8-ball again!

Euroncrowseye wrote:
rinelk wrote:
I've bolded for you the most natural, simple-minded assumption, the one you'd need something vaguely resembling evidence to depart from.


Except that particular assumption is quite an odd one. Generally if the price of something goes up then not only do people buy less but the funds allocated to that area decline. Most goods have substitutes and beer is no exception- there are various refreshing soft drinks and there are spirits that provide the buzz.


Keep in mind the situation in question, though--state-controlled sale of alcohol, not just beer. While it's true that some non-alcoholic options exist for the provision of a buzz, they carry with them very different social implications and risks than alcohol. Common sense suggests that people denied the option to buy as much alcohol as they want won't just stock up on pot.

But wait--that's the same kind of BS I've been carping about this whole time! How could I possibly know what someone will do when the price of alcohol goes up? If you were to point out that my intuitive sense of the replaceability of alcohol by pot is of no evidentiary value, you'd be absolutely right.
 
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Jon Badolato
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In that chart by the Commonwealth Foundation is that billion miles driven a national value or is that per state. It doesn't say. But that could make a big difference. Residents of populous and large area states could be driving those billion miles in a far shorter time frame than residents of smaller or less populous states. Which could mean that the deaths recorded are happening over quite different time frames from state to state.
 
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Euroncrowseye wrote:
So if I have £100 to spend, and I initially decide to spend £10 on beer, £50 on Steam games and £40 on pizza and the price of beer rises £10, after the price rise I will still be spending £10 on beer, £50 on Steam games and £40 on pizza. That's a pretty strong assumption to make once you move into a world where there are more than two goods available; there are multiple refreshments that can take the place of beer so we might well end up with what previously bought a 6 pack of beer buying 15 litres of coke- not a great improvement in health.

If (as I suspect) you're applying a two good cobb douglas model to reach your initial intuition you've made a huge mistake by assuming that the two goods that will be purchased have been set in advance.


Any distribution of purchases is going to be unlikely once there are lots of options, including my default assumption. So I don't make that assumption with confidence that it'll be right, only with confidence that I'd need a reason to assume anything else. What you've done throughout the thread is used your unsupported intuition to justify a claim that what people will actually do is not just different from, but worse for them than my default. Yes, it might well be that they'll drown themselves in Coke instead, but that's an even less likely option than that their budget will remain unchanged.

EDIT: in case it wasn't clear, I have no familiarity with any number of Cobbs. It might well be the case that this is the technical term for my mental model without my knowledge, though.
 
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