A chorus of criticism has greeted proposals from college chiefs to consider lowering the drinking age to 18, the Washington Post reports, as everyone from health experts, lawmakers, high school principals, and groups like MADD have been quick to slam the idea. The academic leaders say their theory that lowering the age would promote moderation is being distorted.
They aren't in favor of drinking, the university leaders argue, but with the campus culture of binge-drinking getting worse and worse, it may be time for a new approach. A 1984 law slashing federal highway funds 10% for any state with a drinking age below 21 may keep the debate corked. "The political popularity of federal highway money far outweighs the popularity of letting 18-year-olds drink," noted one policy expert.