Fundamentally Dishonest

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
If any reporters happen to stumble onto this post, recognize that by identifying the costs using the spin of the beer-tax proponents, you are participating in the politics of the debate. That's not reporters' job, and my guess is the ones doing it aren't aware of the mistake.