According to statistics, the United States has the highest legal drinking age in the world with the exception of some areas of India, most countries allow a person to legally drink alcohol at the age of 18, including many countries in Western Europe and Australia. Other countries may have a legal drinking age of 16 meanwhile some don’t even have a restriction on age at all. Although each individual states are responsible for setting their own minimum drinking age, all the states in the United States have unanimously settled on 21 years old being the minimum. According to many, the minimum drinking age would be considered medically irresponsible. They argued that since the young adult’s brain is not fully developed, alcohol consumption may hinder the development of the brain and therefore lead to more serious problems. Early consumption of alcohol can potentially increase the risk for chronic problems such as greater vulnerability to addiction, dangerous risk-taking behavior, reduced decision-making ability, memory loss, depression, violence, and suicide in adolescents. There were many studies conducted on the effects of alcohol on younger people. Several studies determined that the brain is not fully developed until around the age of 21 and therefore would affect the adolescent minds differently than that of an adult. In addition, many special interest groups promoted a national minimum drinking age law such as the highly influential nonprofit organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). MADD claims that the higher minimum legal drinking age has saved thousands or possibly hundred thousands of lives from car-related incidents that involve alcohol consumption. They speculated that the minimum drinking age helps prevent binge drinking which tends to peak among young adults which could potentially become lethal in extreme cases.On the other end of the spectrum, many view that the national drinking age should be lowered and varied depending on the states. Some people argued that since the age of majority is 18 ,which is considered the age of adulthood in the United States, people who have reach this age should be able to make their own decisions about alcohol consumption. When one reach the age of adulthood in the United States, they have the ability to  vote, smoke cigarettes, serve on juries, get married, sign contracts, be prosecuted as adults, and join the military. Since they are given such rights, many argued that they should also have the right to legally consume alcohol. It is unconstitutional for the federal state to force the states to comply to the NMDAA according to the 10th Amendment, these rights are given to the hands of the state. Only the states could determine the minimum drinking age given their legal context, history and demographics.   Lowering the minimum drinking age to 21 could actually be good for the economy as whole. More people would legally be able to consume  alcohol in licensed establishments and therefore increase revenue. A considerably larger amount of tax revenue for the government would be collected from the increase sale from private business owners. Many people argued that the MLDA have a association with drunk driving incidents, however, statistic have shown that the decrease in drunk driving accidents in comparison to the total car accidents in the United States does not correlate to the MLDA. Although the MLDA of the United States are higher than those of many European countries with a MLDA of 16 or 18, the U.S have reported more drunk driving related accidents than that of their counterpart. Even with the policies enforced, many youths still illegally consume alcohol, rederening the minimum drinking age ineffective. Underage drinking have credited for  17.5% which equates to $22.5 billion dollars of consumer spending for alcohol in the U.S according to the reports from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. In other studies, researcher have found no correlation between MLDA and the tendency to engage in criminal or self harming activities by adolescents despite claims.  It is concluded that lowering the minimum drinking is statistically associated with lower rates of suicide, homicide, or other criminal behaviors. The federal government withholding highway funding from states until they comply with national laws can be interpreted to many as unconstitutional. The federal government breached on states rights and affairs given by the 10th Amendment when they attempt to force states to follow their policies by withholding ten percent of highway funding from states that refused to follow raise their minimum drinking age. The federal government have held federal grants as a leverage over states as a way for them to comply to the laws that they make. By doing this, the federal government obtain more power over states that aren’t necessarily given to them through the Constitution. There have been many times when congress held grant fund as hostage from the states in order to comply with their laws such as in the case of South Dakota v. Dole or the speed limit act in 1974.  If Congress were to lose the Highway Trust Fund, it would also lose a powerful tool to keep states in line. States, however, are not legally binded to follow federal mandates or programs and can choose to decline to participate. However, because Congress has the sole authority to distribute funds however they see fit, states have to meet the conditions that Congress sets in order to receive funding. Despite this appearing very unfair, the courts have given Congress the ability to tie funding to states to compliance with federal guidelines. By allowing the federal government to have such a leverage over the states, more power is given to the government and therefore power becomes unbalanced. The government could potentially gain the upperhand and threaten states’ power and take regulate their affairs. However, there are times when it’s necessary to withheld grant funds when it benefit the nation as a whole such as in the case of Civil War to control the Confederacy. The federal government have used incentives provided by grants acts as a substitute for constitutional authority and cooperation with its policies many times. In one case, the status of marijuana was up for debate. This has been a very controversial topic regarding the legalization of  marijuana in the United States. Despite the nation government declaring any use of marijuana as illegal, many states have passed a law that has legalized the production, distribution, and use of marijuana within the state which conflicts with the federal law. In order to make states comply to the federal laws, the national government could decrease federal fundings for states that challenged their policies. In recent times, President Trump and his administration have threatened to withhold fundings for “sanctuary cities” as a way to deport undocumented criminals by doubling down on sanctuary policies. Although it was struck down, it could’ve easily passed by due to the ruling of the Supreme Court which declares that states don’t have to participate in federal laws, but they can’t prevent the federal government from enforcing their own laws. Another similar case occurred in 2009 when Senator Chuck Schumer sought to force states to outlaw texting while driving by making the measures a prerequisite for highway funding. The policy did not pass however, had it been successful the federal government would have reduced the noncompliance states’ highway budget by 25 percent.


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