The inaptly named City of Brotherly Love is attempting to license bloggers. If bloggers make any money from their blogs, they will have to pay a $300.00 “business privilege tax” to obtain a business privilege license. (I rather like the Orwellian term “business privilege”, as if the right to buy and to sell was some sort of gift of the State.) Go here to read the details at the Philadelphia Citypaper.
Just how many things are wrong about this? Let us count the ways:
1. Blogging has become an essential part of gaining information about public affairs for many people. It provides endless sources of both information and misinformation with consumers completely free to glean truth from falsity for themselves. Attempts by government to tax bloggers, in addition to income taxes, will drive many bloggers out of the hobby\business and lessen the chief good feature of blogging: endless sources.
2. Malicious governments could simply use this mechanism to rid themselves of troublesome blogs that reveal governmental misdeeds to public light.
3. The freedom of the internet is rather a trite saying, but it is also true. Attempts by government to regulate it deters from this freedom, and stifles one of the driving forces of creativity in our society.
4. Most bloggers, if they make any money at all, make only small sums, and $300.00 is draconian in comparison to those small sums.
5. Internet taxation is the El Dorado for greedy cash-strapped governments, and let them get their foot in the door and they will continually be attempting to mine what they view as an endless source of revenue.
Some ideas are good, some ideas are bad and some ideas are so bad that only a government committee could come up with them.