Sunday, July 7, 2013

Frank the Tank

Apparently, the "Frank the Tanks" of the country are helping tank the economy. According to CDC, binge drinking cost the nation $223.5 billion ($1.90 per drink) in 2006. Seventy-two percent of the total cost were due to loss in workplace productivity. This data "suggests," according to The Atlantic, "that the economic drag from hangovers is about $160 billion (...also the total cost of natural catastrophes in 2012.) Or think of it this way. Americans have about 117 billion alcoholic drinks each year. Hangovers cost us about $1.37 for each drink in lost productivity."

Three-quarters of the cost of binge drinking is due to only 15% of U.S. adults. As CDC reports,

Overall, researchers found that about $94.2 billion (42 percent) of the total economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption were borne by federal, state, and local governments while $92.9 billion (41.5 percent) was borne by excessive drinkers and their family members. Government agencies paid most of the health care expenses due to excessive alcohol use (61 percent), while drinkers and their families bore most of the cost of lost productivity (55 percent), primarily in the form of lower household income. Excessive alcohol consumption, including high per–occasion alcohol consumption (binge drinking), and high average daily alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 79,000 deaths in the United States each year.

Pretty saddening to see the societal and economic impact of alcohol consumption. Makes that aspect of the Word of Wisdom seem all the wiser. However, I wonder how much binge drinking among Mormons would have increased if Brigham Young, Jr. and John Henry Smith had gotten their way regarding beer.[1]

1. " 1901, John Henry Smith and Brigham Young, Jr., of the Twelve both thought that the Church ought not interdict beer, or at least not Danish beer. Other apostles, like Anthon H. Lund and Matthias F. Cowley also enjoyed Danish beer and currant wine. Charles W. Penrose occasionally served wine." (Thomas G. Alexander, "The Word of Wisdom: From Principle to Requirement," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 14:3, 1981: 78.) I'm willing to bet cultural restraints would keep the excessive consumption low given that only 15% of U.S. adults are categorized as binge drinkers.

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