shopify analytics tool

The real reason behind Prohibition

This is a page from the original version of Pagan Vigil. There are some formatting differences.

Originally published at www.paganvigil.com/C49491493/E20070729122304

The real reason behind Prohibition


Nothing to do with morality and everything to do with vote pandering

I have to admit, I never considered this before.

What happened in 1930 that suddenly gave the repeal movement political muscle? The answer is the Great Depression and the ravages that it inflicted on federal income-tax revenues.

Prior to the creation in 1913 of the national income tax, about a third of Uncle Sam's annual revenue came from liquor taxes. (The bulk of Uncle Sam's revenues came from customs duties.) Not so after 1913. Especially after the income tax surprised politicians during World War I with its incredible ability to rake in tax revenue, the importance of liquor taxation fell precipitously.

By 1920, the income tax supplied two-thirds of Uncle Sam's revenues and nine times more revenue than was then supplied by liquor taxes and customs duties combined. In research that I did with University of Michigan law professor Adam Pritchard, we found that bulging income-tax revenues made it possible for Congress finally to give in to the decades-old movement for alcohol prohibition.

Before the income tax, Congress effectively ignored such calls because to prohibit alcohol sales then would have hit Congress hard in the place it guards most zealously: its purse. But once a new and much more intoxicating source of revenue was discovered, the cost to politicians of pandering to the puritans and other anti-liquor lobbies dramatically fell.
Prohibition was launched.

Despite pleas throughout the 1920s by journalist H.L. Mencken and a tiny handful of other sensible people to end Prohibition, Congress gave no hint that it would repeal this folly. Prohibition appeared to be here to stay -- until income-tax revenues nose-dived in the early 1930s.

I totally missed the connection. This makes perfect sense.

The implications for the "War On Drugs" are staggering, not to mention fifty-plus years of military deployments.

The Federal Government has too much money!

Hat tip The Agitatior.

Posted: Sun - July 29, 2007 at 12:23 PM

blog comments powered by Disqus
2017       2016       2015       2014       2010       2009       2008       2007       2006       2005