Friday, August 22, 2008

Drinking age

100+ college presidents are calling for a national discussion on the drinking age.

I don't have strong feelings on where the drinking age should be. There are good arguments for age 21--According to that link, later onset of drinking is correlated with a lower risk of alcoholism and a minimum age of 21 results in fewer under 18 children drinking. I don't know that they are sufficient to override my desire for reduced regulation, or a difference in the age of adulthood for specific purposes. I'm also not particularly confident in the impartiality of that link--they promote a lot of "for your own good" laws.

Some of the presidents are saying that there's little evidence that the high limit stops underage drinking, and they fear it just drives drinking off campus and increases DUI.

When I was 18, we had 3.2 beer and regular beer was available only 21 and up. We had no problem getting regular beer, and liquor was only a minor difficulty--even though at the time liquor was only in the state store.

Worldwide it appears that most countries have 18 as their drinking age.

My biggest problem is how the age was raised--Essentially the federal government blackmailed states into passing laws raising their drinking age or they would lose 10% of federal highway funds, in the same way we got the 55mph speed limit. I can't think of a time where tying funding to passage of laws is justified, especially when it is to pass laws that the fed can't. It isn't so much the results that bother me, it is the precident.

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