24 January 2012

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Our federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a newly-released report, says "binge drinking" (defined as "men drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks within a short period of time or women drinking 4 or more drinks within a short period of time"; said period of time is not defined) is a greater problem in the United States than previously thought.  The proposed approaches to the problem, of course, largely involve empowering government further or allocating more government resources (i.e. spending money on government).

Reason.com's response:  "First, as noted, the length of an "occasion" is left to the respondent's interpretation; it could be "a few hours," but it might be five or six, or an entire Saturday. Second, the number Parker-Pope cites is actually the average for "the largest number of drinks [respondents] had on any occasion in the preceding 30 days" (emphasis added). In other words, it is atypical, by definition, for any given individual. Furthermore, because it is an average across all respondents, including very heavy drinkers, it does not necessarily mean most of them consume that much even on one occasion per month."

Or, as they cynically titled the essay:  "CDC: If You Drink Enough to Enjoy It, You've Had Too Much."

1 comment:

The Oriole Way said...

Your unthinking libertarian mind at work: automatically assuming anything the government produces is crap, and that it can be easily refuted by anecdote.

I binge drink regularly; I frequently have five plus drinks across several hours. That doesn't mean I'm going to get in a fight (haven't been in one in probably a decade), hit my wife (never), or drink and drive (I take transit or call a cab). That ALSO doesn't mean this is healthy for me (it probably raises risks for heart disease and it definitely kills brain cells), or that I don't fit the statistical profile of someone who might well do those bad things. These things have a risk/reward trade-off; drinking can be fun, and you can enjoy a great evening with friends. Or you could have six drinks in 3 hours, be legally impaired and kill yourself while driving. Same behavior; different outcome. Statistical probability. Science.