Could higher taxes actually lower your chance of dying? The government sure would like you to think so.
They're actually claiming that raising the state tax on alcohol could actually prompt a decline in the number of people who die from alcohol-related diseases like cirrhosis and cancer.
This "research" is based on alcohol tax hikes in Alaska in 1983 and 2002. After taxes went up on wine, beer, and liquor in 1983, the study claims there were 29 percent fewer deaths linked to alcohol-related disease. After the taxes were raised again in 2002, there was a more modest decline of 11 percent.
So, because alcohol cost more, people drank less? I doubt it. There are so many other factors this study failed to consider: how many of the people that died had pre-existing diseases before the taxes went up? Did they all really die of actual alcohol-linked ailments? After all, the researchers included breast cancer as one of the "alcohol-related" diseases that declined - that seems a bit of a stretch to me.
Once again: shoddy research is being used to back up what will be a popular conclusion. Surely, state governments will seize upon the "results" of this silly study so they can claim that their next tax hike is being done for the "public good."