Posted on January 8, 2010
You can thank Jeff Becker for the fact that there isn’t an excessive tax on your beer.
Jeff was the longtime President of the Beer Institute. He loved the beer industry, loved the people who made beer, the people who sold beer, and the people who drank beer.
You go to his Facebook site, and you will see that even in his last days he was checking out links to different beer distributors and beer groups and beer brands.
He felt that the American people had a right to drink beer without the federal government putting a punitive tax on it.
Jeff was a lobbyist, and that has a negative connotation to it these days.
But Jeff represented the best of the lobbyist profession. And the millions of beer drinkers who think they pay enough in taxes and don’t think they should pay a beer tax to an out-of-control federal government should be happy that they had a lobbyist as dogged and as determined as Jeff Becker.
Jeff died yesterday at home after a long bout with cancer. He was a great family man, an unbelievably talented golfer, a great joke-teller, and an all around stand-up guy.
Jeff didn’t put up with a lot of bull. He wasn’t one of those slick guys that everybody loves to hate outside the beltway. He was a beer guy, and he had friends around the country and around the globe, because not only was he a beer guy, he was a guy’s guy.
That he was a good golfer is an understatement. He had the kind of easy swing that makes hackers like me very envious. But he never made you feel bad about having an inferior swing, except at the end of the round, when you had to pay up.
Becker’s fight to keep the federal government off the backs of beer drinkers may seem trivial, but it is not. As we have seen with the Obama Administration’s plan to force people to buy health care, left unchecked, the government will go to any lengths to control how the citizens of this country live their lives.
In one sense, Becker was fighting to stop the beer tax. In a bigger sense, he was fighting to keep the American people free from oppressive government.
Some may think of Becker as just another lobbyist. I saw him as a protector of our liberty.
Like many of his legions of friends, I will miss Jeff Becker. I will miss his jokes. I will miss his easy smile. I will miss playing golf with him. And I will miss his passionate defense of the Beer Industry.
My deepest sympathies go out to his wife Brenda, his son Max and his daughter Megan.