**Posted by Phineas
Not yet, but a Berkeley (natch) city councilor thinks it’s a grand idea:
Gordon Wozniak, a Berkeley city councilman, proposed taxing email messages during a recent city council meeting in an effort to reduce the spread of “spam,” or unwanted emails.
Wozniak also said an email tax could raise money to keep the U.S. Postal Service functioning.
“There should be something like a bit tax … [it] could be a cent per gigabit and they would make, probably, billions of dollars a year,” he said.
First question for Mr. Wozniak: are you taxing the senders or the recipients? If the former, how do you plan to get Nigerian scammers and Chinese porn spammers to comply? If the latter, then how…. Wait, I know: “It’s for the good of the community.”
Can you imagine how fast businesses would leave California if email messages (or data transfer) were to be taxed? Hint: hard to believe, but even faster than they are, now. And what about people who rely on email for their small or micro-businesses, or their hobbies? The Internet has been a fabulous engine for wealth creation, so naturally progressive Luddites want to kill it through taxation.
And what is it with the leftist obsession with preserving dying institutions? The Postal Service is collapsing, in large part due to the efficiency and convenience of email. It can’t compete, so let it go and let other, better services take its place. Just like their obsession with railroads, “progressives” boldly look to the past, when the future is staring them in the face. And because the future frightens them, their reaction is to tax it to prevent it.
Meanwhile, a suggestion to Councilman Wozniak: If spam email so annoys you, stop whining and get a service or software with a good spam filter.
And keep your grasping paws off my wallet.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)