On the drinking age, I think the right answer is now and always will be obvious. Individuals should be able to purchase alcohol on their own account starting at age 19, which would liberalize the current law considerably and still allow for the policing of unsupervised drinking among high school students. In addition, teenagers older than, say, 15 should be able to drink in the company of their parents, either in private or in restaurants. Responsible drinking has to be taught. One can’t help but believe that the current generation binges because it has had no opportunity to learn that responsibility from the people in the best position to teach it to them.
The only thing I might add is that I’d prefer some sort of policy that got colleges and universities out of policing student prohibition. Lowering the drinking age to 19 would continue the temptation for “student life” officials to (largely ineffectually) regulate all alcohol consumption by students, regardless of age. I’m not sure what the exact solution to that conundrum is, but I am certain that I’d rather have freshmen drinking openly than “out of sight” in the basement of some frat house or off-campus apartment.