Tax the Sin to Save the Sinner (Assignment # 3) (Persuasive Paper Part 1: a Problem Exists)

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Surely no one would doubt that alcohol and tobacco are being consumed in huge quantities all around the world. It is particularly true in developing countries such as my home country of Vietnam and its neighbors with tobacco and alcohol. Along with this consumption, many health and social problems exist, affecting many millions of people planet wide. The United States is a country already plagued by health and social problems and many are due to excessive drinking and smoking. So, the question becomes, “Should taxes on alcohol and tobacco be increased to help pay for medical costs?” This paper will identify many of the medical problems with drinking and smoking, the social problems from the same, and provide some perspective on the current taxes of these products and how those taxes are utilized. In the USA today, taxes of the alcohol and tobacco products are bundled into the prices of the products and therefore customers do not know the cost of the product vs. the taxes included in the sale. Even though the US Federal government first levied taxes on tobacco in 1794, by 1864, the tax for a pack of 20 cigarettes was still less than 1 cent. By 2009 this had been slowly raised to $1.01. Inflation adjusted this means that the taxes on a pack of cigarettes went up roughly 10 fold over nearly 150 years. However, tobacco products are also by the individual states and cities. In 2009, South Carolina and Rhode Island taxed them at 7 cents and $3.46 per pack, respectively. Like tobacco, alcohol (including spirits, wine, and beer) is taxed at different rates by not only the federal but also state governments. In 2008, the federal excise tax rates proof gallon of spirits and 31-gallon barrel of beer were $13.50 and $18, respectively. Additionally, depending on the percentage of alcohol content, the federal excise tax in this year was $1.07 to $3.15 per gallon of wine. Again, states also set their own tax rates for each type of alcohol. In 2009, for spirits, Maryland and...
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