I will use one of my allotted beer tax slots to highlight a particularly dishonest and misleading component of the backers' PR push. It has been successful enough that reporters now regularly parrot the talking point as if it's a part of the public policy under consideration. To wit:
The present tax translates into less than a penny per 12-ounce beer. It's about the lowest in the country, unchanged for 32 years.
The higher tax would tack a 15-cent tax on 12 ounces, a 20-cent tax on a pint.
That comes from an article in Thursday's Oregonian--though the calculation of the tax in terms of cost to the customer on a per-glass basis is ubiquitous. It's pure spin, and it's absolutely neither fact nor a part of the policy.
- The bill proposes an excise tax on beer at the production side, not a retail tax. No one has any idea how much the excise tax will affect beer prices.
- Backers use this framing device to minimize the perceived effect of the tax. This is political spin, not fact. Rather, it seeks to obscure fact. Some people use a different word for language that obscures fact.
- Pinning the tax to a phony per-glass cost has the additional advantage of hiding who actually pays the tax. Consumers are asked to think they're picking up a very modest cost to pay for a large public benefit. Great politics, pure BS.