In an earlier post on the subject of taxing booze, I suggested that we should scrap the separate tax schedules for beer, wine, and liquor and instead tax alcohol content. Turns out that Bob Greenstein from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities discussed this in some recent testimony on health care revenue options:
A third option, and the one that would raise the most revenue of the three outlined here, would be to combine the first two options. Under such an approach, alcohol would be taxed across the board at the level that distilled spirits were taxed in 1991, when Congress last acted, with that level adjusted for inflation since 1991 and going forward. Under this option, the tax on a bottle of beer or a glass of wine would be about 18 cents. The increase would be 13 cents per bottle of beer and 14 cents per glass of wine.
This is a harsher hit than what the senate seems to be mulling, but in exchange for the harsher hit you get more money—$100 billion over ten years—so insofar as you have things you want to do that need money, I still think this looks pretty good.