On the down-low

It was shocking news, I must say: A government agency in Oregon was caught deliberately hiding a document from the public, and then lying about it! And can you believe it? It was down in Salem – the Oregon Health Authority. Such great people getting such great results. It's so unlike them.

And the document in question? A study that shows that raising taxes on beer and wine won't reduce drinking.

Last month, agency officials cited COVID overload as the reason they failed to publish the study. But emails show the agency intentionally refrained from making it public until at least the summer of 2022, at which time Oregon’s frenzied initial COVID response and three peak waves of infections and deaths had passed.

In addition, in response to criticism from a leading Republican lawmaker in the wake of The Oregonian/OregonLive’s report, the agency’s new director, who came on board after the study was suppressed, wrote that the agency did not share the study with “any other partners or special interests.”

But that, too, is false. Mike Marshall, head of addiction treatment provider group Oregon Recovers that has advocated for higher alcohol taxes, was briefed on the study findings, emails show. Agency staff then edited a memo about the study based on his feedback.

In an email to the newsroom on Wednesday, health authority spokesperson Jonathan Modie said that the new agency director, Sejal Hathi, did not knowingly mislead lawmakers. Hathi did not know at the time that agency officials had discussed the report with Marshall, Modie said.

Welcome to Oregon, Dr. Hathi! I hope your newly acquired minions don't land you in jail. 

Yes, they're sitting around all day pushing for more taxes. That $11 six-pack of beer (plus 60 cents deposit) will look like a bargain pretty soon.

They ought to do a study on how much the stress of living under the many nasty, dishonest Oregon bureaucracies drives people to drink. I'll bet it's a real concern.

My mom used to quote her own mother as saying "Who lies, they steal." Both of them were pretty smart.


  1. Or as California's former Governor (Pat Brown's son Jerry) once stated, "Politicians all lie, all the time". This tells us all we need to know.
    "Who lies, they steal." Wisdom well stated.

    1. Didn’t agree with Pat very often. But, he was a straight shooter. Probably the reason he didn’t get beyond Sacramento.

  2. It's neither shocking nor unbelievable. As someone who has worked for the State for decades, I have watched ( I moved to mgmt for 6 months and got disgusted and dropped down) as productive people move higher and higher up in management, they lose all sense of responsibility and morph into people who surround themselves only with those who will support their job security. The higher they go, the more nepotism and false facts rule their lives until the only thing that matters is their power and paycheck.

  3. Gee, sounds a lot like The O.

  4. The only defensible reason to target alcoholic beverages with specialized taxes is to provide goverments with resources to needed to address the negative externalities of alcohol use.

    Tax alcohol by volume (regardless of beverage). If servings of wine or beer or gin have similar amounts of alcohol (creating similar amounts of intoxication) they should be taxed similarly.

    Oregon currently applies a luxury tax model to liquors that encourages drinking cheap brands. The per bottle tax on a premium vodka can be 5x the tax on a cheap one. If you compare the tax on some rare whiskeys, it can move past 30x.

    Oregon's tax scheme pits the different beverages against one another (tax that guy more and put his stuff in an inconvenient location). It's long past time to rethink the post-prohibition era model.

  5. Well Pfizer and Moderna lied about everything with the mRNA trials and the FDA (paid mostly by big pharma) knew they lied and did nothing. They tried to hide the data for 99 years, but were sued and have been slow walking the data out now. University of North Carolina was given the "warp speed" mRNA version from Moderna in September 2019.

    1. That isn’t even close to the same. You’re just spewing harmful disinformation about very effective vaccines.

  6. It doesn't matter if Hathi intentionally misled lawmakers or not. She did, and if she had a sense of honor or personal integrity, she's immediately fire all of her staffers involved in the coverup or obfuscating the coverup including her spokeweasel, and then resign herself. But that's not going to happen because she's a lightweight political hack and it was quite obvious from her resume when she was hired.

    The only way Hathi is getting forced out is if she somehow crosses the Kotek steamroller.


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