I nearly choked on my craft beer as I read this news-blog article’s title and ensuing body:

Beer tax:  Why nail Pabst and not ‘high falutin’ microbrews?

Are Washington’s Democratic state lawmakers microbrew drinking, Merlot swilling elitists?

At a news conference Tuesday Gov. Chris Gregoire was asked to comment on the relative fairness of taxing “macro brews” – your Pabst Blue Ribbons, Budweisers and Schmidts of the world – while exempting “microbrews” and wine. The former brews, it was suggested, are generally enjoyed by blue collar types. The latter are the tipples of choice of yuppie liberals.

Hold on there Sir Stereotype.  If there is any factual reporting beyond this opening catastrophe, it will have been drowned out by the loudness of your bias.  Let me introduce myself,  a craft/microbrew drinker.  I work a dead end job that doesn’t pay well.  I drive a minivan. That minivan is packed with five kids.  I have an unused masters degree in theology.  I have a copy of Rothbard’s, “For A New Liberty” sitting next to my elbow as I type on my aged HP computer.

Hardly High Falutin.  The reality is, the vast majority of  micro brew drinkers is quite the opposite.  I have yet to meet one that fits the category.

The author of the article seems to be upset that his/her product of choice (apparently Pabst Blue Ribbon) is subject to a new tax.  I understand being upset.  But the author is not merely upset at the tax, but at the fairness of the tax.  As a result, instead of getting on the phone and petitioning a repeal, they are making an illogical ad hominem attack against the party that so unfairly escaped taxation, the micro beer drinker.

According to the author:

The governor said a general sales tax increase would’ve hurt economic recovery and been borne disproportionately by the poor. Instead, in dealing with a $2.8 billion deficit, lawmakers chose a targeted, $800 million package of eliminating exemptions and imposing tax hikes on beer, soda, candy and bottled water. The beer tax is 50-cents per gallon (28-cents per six pack) through June, 2013. Over the next two years it is expected to bring in $59 million.

But the first 60,000 barrels produced by small brewers is exempt (to qualify as a microbrewer in Washington state a business must make less than 60,000 barrels each year). That means the pale ale, hefeweizen, and amber drinkers of the state won’t be paying more. Gregoire said the fact that microbrews and wines were not included in the tax hikes isn’t elitism, it’s localism. Washington is home to hundreds of small breweries and wineries, which is why, Gregoire said, her husband Mike drinks microbrews and she drinks state wines. (emphasis THFB)

“I heard a little dis on my husband on the floor of the House,” Gregoire said. “Why does my husband drink microbrews?…Because it’s Washington state, Washington state jobs.” (emphasis THFB)

Well. 2.8 billion is a bit of a pickle…a pickle that isn’t going to just go away.

Let me introduce the conundrum that encapsulates the human condition:  We want stuff, and we do not want to pay for it.  Whether it be a community recreation center, newly paved highways, or health care, we want/need it, but it better come out of someone else’s pockets.  We all love communal perks, just not the bill.

The citizen is left with two choices:  Keep the stuff and the obligatory taxes, or cut the stuff and keep some change like Colorado Springs is doing.  I am not trying to show the superiority of one system over the other, I’m merely trying to show the reality of the scenario, and that being sour grapes over another’s fortune (or escaping of misfortune) does little to solve a problem within your system.

It is clear that the reasoning of the legislatures is as such.  Micro beer, not macro beer, is the life blood of Washington.  Economists have routinely pointed out that a larger corporation can more easily weather a small tax storm than a small business or a small business start up.  Washington cannot bear to see more jobs lost, and perhaps by saving the microbrewery from failure the microbrewery from failure, not only will jobs be saved, but the microbrewery will grow into a larger, more revenue and tax producing corporation.  At this point, perhaps the taxation can be eased on the macrobrewery.  All the while, the well being of the macro and micro drinker was in consideration.

As a future brewery partner/owner, I hope that at least some of the tax burden for the stuff I don’t use falls on those who do use it.  If it doesn’t, I hope I remember this article keep the big picture in mind, and refrain from insulting the one who escapes the burden.