The Reason Why Should the Drinking Age Stay at 21: The Drinking Age Act

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The question of who should make the policy (rather than what the policy is) has been a long political debate that I am sure will not be solved within this paper. I do argue though that states given the opportunity to experiment is beneficial for all of us. It is appropriate to leave states to decide both the drinking age and marijuana legality for personal use. The government is important in setting some standards for all to follow, but some subject matters are better left to the state. While the national government is not directly setting the standards for alcohol use and marijuana use, they do place states in a position where they are unable to experiment which is where the problem lies. It would be in America’s positive interest to give these decisions to the states rather than let the government decide.

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A Statement on the Arguments For and Against Restoring State Freedom

John McCardell had arguments for the resolution of restoring states freedom that were compelling, mostly because he had statements about how society changes over time that James C. Fell lacked (in his arguments against the resolution). While compelling, I did disagree with McCardell that the federal highway fund put in place should be completely removed or waivered- this is better explained in a later paragraph. On the contrary, James C. Fell had lots of statistics, but what he lacked was how it pertains to a changing America. He stated history and facts but did not provide how this applies to an America that has evolved to having drunk and high drivers off the road for good with new technology and services provided to influenced individuals (These are services like Uber, Lyft, etc. that can be easily accessed through technology). It also did not address the already changing culture and societal disproval, penalties, and stigmatism that we are starting to see today with greater education on these matters.

Who Should Decide

Federalism seems to be a plus. That is in no way being questioned. What all of us want is to see transparency and communication between the states and government and Federalism allows a two-way street for that to happen. This cooperation from both helps solve more problems for the greater good. Although, the subject of marijuana use and drinking age are not federal issues, they do seem to be more of a state matter. Federalism in itself was originally to allow experimentation and give more freedom to find the true needs/wants of populations across the United States. If these issues are left to the government, a lot of the population’s opinions and contributions are silenced; therein lies the true problem.

A Positive Policy or Race to the Bottom

While I think it is a positive policy to let the states decide, I do not know much about what it means to have a race to the bottom. I stated in the previous paragraph that the problem is silencing peoples wants/needs and not allowing experimentation to happen. These are the main reasons that I feel it a positive policy to let the states decide on these matters. I do think that when it comes to marijuana, it will eventually become regulated much like tobacco. As for drinking age, I think not much will change in regard to the race to the bottom. If left to the states the major issue then, would be the “blood borders” or the crossing of borders to drink or obtain marijuana from a legal state.

My Suggested Solution

My solution is lowering of the percentage of the “incentive” that comes with the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. This may benefit both sides of the argument and push a compromise. While this is not waiving or removing the current National minimum drinking age act like McCardell argued, it seems attainable to have the percentage lowered so that the states may experiment more freely. McCardell stated that although drinking laws in some states were lowered there were no programs put in place to prepare younger people for their newly found privileges. This is something that needs to be considered and addressed for the future as well if the states are given more opportunity to experiment. 

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