Recently, Senator Charles Schumer gave a speech calling for the federal government to take actions to help the alcohol industry. Schumer called for federal agencies to take actions to expedite their regulatory actions to help alcohol companies who were inconvenienced by the government shutdown.
We condemn Senator Schumer’s misguided call for the federal government to support the alcohol industry.
Mr. Schumer fails to recognize the vast damages that alcohol has on people and society. Alcohol is a toxic substance, that causes or contributes to over 200 forms of disease and injury. With some its more serious result including brain damage, organ failure, and several forms of cancer. Alcohol kills over 88,000 Americans a year. An estimated 1/7th of Americans suffer from alcohol addiction and alcohol use disorders. The alcohol crisis in this country kills more people and produces more addiction than the opioid crisis. In addition, alcohol contributes to a variety of social ills, including increased rates of poverty, domestic violence, child-abuse and neglect, sexual assault, and violent crime in general. The social, medical, and economic damages caused by alcohol cost our country over 258 billion dollars a year, and shrinks our nations GDP by 74 billion dollars a year. The money that the alcohol industry pays in taxes I only a fraction of the costs that the government has to pay to deal with the damages caused by the alcohol industry’s products, and as a result most of the damages end up being paid by the rest us. The alcohol industry makes our country makes our country sicker, poorer, and more highly taxed. It damages, the health, safety, and the wellbeing of the people of this country, for the profit of a few.
Mr. Schumer touts the importance of the alcohol industry to his home state, New York. He touts that the alcohol industry is a 4 billion dollar a year business in New York State. While leaving out the fact the state loses over 16 billion dollars a year from the social, medical, and economic damages caused by alcohol.
He touts the increase in breweries, distilleries, and other alcohol businesses in the state, while ignoring the human costs. The people who were sickened or killed by the alcohol industry’s products. The people who suffer from alcohol problems and the pain of their loved ones. The people injured or killed by drunk driving, and their loved ones. The people who were victims of alcohol fueled violence and crime. The people who suffered deprivation due to the money that was wasted on alcohol. The businesses who suffered as a result of the reduced productivity and other economic damages caused by alcohol. The people who lost their jobs as a result of the negative impact that alcohol had on the economy. All the people in New York state and the United States as a whole whose lives have in some way been made wore due to the damaging effects of the alcohol industry’ products.
Mr. Schumer claims that the alcohol industry in New York is a success story. Maybe to the alcohol industry and its lobbyists, but it’s not for the people of New York State. For New York state, it is a story of misguidance, corruption, and the abandonment of the public welfare. The Cuomo administration and members of the state legislature misused their positions to weaken state restrictions on the alcohol industry, and used state agencies and tax-payer money to promote the growth of the alcohol industry. In doing so, they worked to make the problem of alcohol worse in New York state. They abandoned their responsibilities to protect and promote the lives and wellbeing of the people of the state, for the profit of a few. They promoted the growth of the alcohol industry in the name of economic growth, but instead worked to make the economy worse. They took taxpayer dollars that were supposed to be used for services to benefit the public, and instead gave them to companies whose products hurt the public. The growth of the alcohol industry in New York is not a success story, it’s a disgrace.
Mr. Schumer thinks that the federal government should expedite its regulatory processes, so that the alcohol industry can more quickly recover from the inconvenience caused by the partial government shutdown, and thus further improve its production and sales.
The alcohol industry does not deserve any special help from the federal government and it’s not proper for the federal government to give the alcohol industry special help. We had hundreds of thousands of hard-working people who went weeks without pay during the government shutdown. But senator Schumer wants to take advantage of the situation to give special support to corporations who profit off a product that harms people and damages society. To us, that seems like a slap in the face to those workers and their families.
If the federal government were to give special support to the alcohol industry, with the aim of supporting its growth, then they would be contributing to the harm that alcohol does to our people and society. It would go against the constitutionally written principle that government is supposed to promote the general welfare.
For these reasons, the Prohibition Party condemns Senator Schumer’s proposal. We would ask that Senator Schumer reconsider and withdraw his proposal, and we invite all members of the federal legislature and administration to join in rejecting Senator Schumer’s misguided proposal. We would further encourage all members of the government (whether federal, state, or local) to recognize alcohol as a social and public health problem, to end any and all government support for the alcohol industry, and to use your legitimate legislative and administrative powers to take stronger actions to address the problem of alcohol.