I was reading an article yesterday on how the author believes that if we all stopped drinking and avoided getting traffic tickets, that it would cause chaos and the government would end up finding other ways to tax us. The article also talked about how the government in the form of the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) applies taxes to alcohol to offset the social costs and reaps massive profits. They called this kind of tax Pigovian taxes.

Pigovian taxes
– a tax applied to offset the social cost (e.g. impact on families, productivity and health) by excessive drinking

I was thinking of examples to those social costs:
Families – self doubt, emotional self-inflicted pain, becoming stuck in a role which causes the person to neglect their own needs, spousal/child abuse
Productivity – sick days, decreased effectiveness, increased mistakes/human errors due to decreased concentration
Health – damage to kidneys, empty calories/over-weight/beer gut

What was interesting about this article is that these taxes are meant to moderate our (alcohol) consumption, but at the same time the LCBO doesn’t want people to stop drinking entirely because then they would lose out on this form of revenue.



Preface: I’m not a history buff and I kind of figured this would be a touchy subject because it is a very complex region with a very long history. None of this is meant to offend anyone and as always (per my previous articles) is only meant to educate myself and others, by asking basic questions and trying to find the best answers to them.
ispali

Are you well versed with your Middle East geography/history? I’m not. And when I read this article on how (“President”) Donald Trump plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it made me wonder why this was a big deal. It made me ask the following questions:

What is the capital of Israel? 
– Tel Aviv is considered the economical and technological capital
– Jerusalem is where the seat of government is located
– most of the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital
mapisrael

What is the importance of Jerusalem?
– an extremely special place for the Jewish, Islamic AND Catholic religion, holding some of their most precious buildings
– (from my understanding) the UN meant to have it as an “international city” (because of its religious significance), but ended up being a divided/contested city, the Western part controlled by Israel, and the Old City (picture below) half is considered annexed by Israel
israequarters.jpg
Picture from this BBC article

– Palestinians and many in the international community see East Jerusalem as occupied Palestinian territory and the capital of a future Palestinian state
– because of this Tel Aviv has 86 countries’ embassies, while Jerusalem has 0 (most countries have only 1 embassy per foreign country that they have good relations with)

By moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, it signifies to me that President Trump/the US believes that Israel has the right to control East Jerusalem. This, per the article, will open up a can of worms as Palestinians believe it is a violation of international law and is a huge setback to peace hopes.