Russia’s Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin had some curious advice for citizens to help with the economic recovery in that country: drink and smoke heavily. Kudrin has told citizens that the government needs the taxes so they should party hearty, including the added benefit of “upholding birth rates.” It appears that you drink first and smoke later in the expansion of the Russian population.
Of course, Russia has a long problem with widespread addiction to alcohol and smoking. Yet, Kudrin insists “If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help solve social problems such as boosting demographics, developing other social services and upholding birth rates . . . People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state.”
Notably, there have long been economic models that say that smoking can produce a benefit for a government by killing off citizens as they become less productive. Yet, Kudrin appears mostly interested in the taxes.
He seems to believe that there is still some room for growth in consumption despite the fact that the average Russian already consumes 18 litres of alcoholic beverages (mainly vodka) per year.
This is why Timothy Geithner is such a drag. Their economic czar is pushing the country to recovery through an endless TGIF party. Geithner is advocating growth through special-purpose investment partnerships with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
The nice thing about the Kudrin plan is that, even if it does not work, you really don’t mind.