One lesser-known provision within this new bill, is that Senate Republicans are slashing federal alcohol taxes across the board by about approximately 16 percent, a cut affecting beer, wine, and liquor alike.
There is voluminous economic evidence which indicates that higher alcohol taxes save lives by lowering the rate of binge drinking, also lowers alcohol-related fatalities. Additionally, this, in turn, reduces DUI and DWI offenses and deaths in related accidents, liver cirrhosis, alcohol-fueled assault and domestic violence, and other causes. The results of this data suggest that lower alcohol taxes, consequently, increase deaths from those causes.
Adam Looney, an economist at the Brookings Institution, uses the best calculations from the economic literature to estimate that roughly 1,550 more people will die every year from alcohol-related causes when the alcohol tax changes in the bill take effect. Of those deaths, 280 to 660 will be in motor vehicle accidents, the rest from other types of causes.
Even though this mortality figure is much lower than a separate estimate regarding the repeal of the individual mandate, many people are still concerned. According to these studies, this is one of the few pieces of federal tax legislation in recent years for which it is possible to compute a body count.
The final draft of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill went through several changes on Friday in order to bring reluctant Republicans on board, so they have a majority in the Senate. Democrats were angry about the last-minute revisions, complaining that they had not been given enough time to digest the nearly 500-page document, with handwritten changes to the legislation.