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Beer Taxes, the Beige Book and Drug Safety Before the Supreme Court

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Beer Taxes, the Beige Book and Drug Safety Before the Supreme Court

1. TAXES 

Oregon becomes one of the states seeking to raise new revenue by increasing taxes on beer.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Policy Analyst Michelle Minton on the impact of hiking beer taxes

“…[beer and wine] tax increases will hurt employees and pubs hardest. To back that up we can take the UK as an example—they are seeing the roosting chickens from Chancellor Darling’s 2008 beer tax in the form of 20,000 lost jobs and 2000 pubs closing. That’s just in 2008. American lawmakers should think very carefully before following the same principal as the Brits who, let’s face it, have a much stronger relationship with their pubs. As a result of taxing this industry, England is loosing its small pubs, many family-owned and many that have been part of communities for decades.” 

 

2. BUSINESS

The Federal Reserve releases its “Beige Book”, an overview of economic conditions in each of the Bank’s 12 regions.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Adjunct Fellow Fran Smith on what the Fed has to say about current state of the economy

“[Yesterday] afternoon the Federal Reserve released its summary of economic conditions in the 12 Federal Reserve Districts. Based on anecdotal information, reports, and interviews with key sources, the report is issued eight times per year. The key adjectives used to describe recent economic conditions in those districts were ‘bleak,’ ‘stagnant,’ ‘dismal,’ ‘sluggish,’ ‘slow,’ ‘dropping,’ ‘falling’ and other descriptors for a sharp decline in economic activity across almost all areas and sectors of the economy. One exception was the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology products, where there was continued demand. Also, basic food production was stable…Guess it’s encouraging the Fed didn’t change the name to the ‘Black Book.’ 

 

3. LEGAL

The Supreme Court rules against drug maker Wyeth in a dispute over government guidelines for health safety warnings.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Senior Fellow Gregory Conko on why the decision was bad policy and bad law

“…the Supreme Court could have and should have held in Wyeth’s favor with a narrowly tailored opinion confined to the facts of this case. Doing so would not have insulated wrong-doers from punishment, but would have recognized that Congress gave FDA statutory authority over questions of safety and efficacy because it believed that only a federal expert body could effectively balance the benefits and risks of new medicines. As Justice Alito’s dissent makes clear, ‘the ordinary principles of conflict pre-emption turn solely on whether a State has upset the regulatory balance struck by the federal agency.’ That is exactly what has happened here. So, not only is the majority’s decision bad policy, it’s also bad law.” 

 

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