The World According to Nick
My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.
Friday, December 02, 2005

Republicans Getting In Bed With Porn 

The Agitator points to this rather interesting proposal for a tax on pornography:

A proposal to impose a special tax on sexually oriented businesses is creating a dilemma for some legislators.

They're socially conservative and would like to combat pornography and discourage the opening of new shops that sell X-rated videos and magazines and other products, such as sex toys.

But some also have signed a pledge not to raise taxes.

That has a few talking about tying the proposed porn tax to proposals to cut taxes elsewhere.

Balko's point when he pointed to it, and the gist of the article is to say that the proposal is a clash between the Republicans wanting to eliminate pornography, while at the same time promising not to raise taxes. I think both are missing the much larger, and much more obvious clash. If Republicans put a tax on porn, then they're guaranteeing that it will never disappear. Of course publicly they're talking about how by taxing it, they hope to see a reduction in the consumption of it, or the outright elimination of it... but in reality they've just tied themselves to the need for it.

For all the stupid arguments that have been floated recently about how porn is somehow addictive to people, and is therefore a danger to our society... taxes are far more addictive to government than porn will ever be to your average male (or female for that matter). Don't believe me? Look at tobacco.

For all the public health concerns surrounding it... and for all the laws that try to limit its use in public... it is still legal, and will probably always be legal. State governments make way too much money off of tobacco taxes for them to make it illegal. For as much as nicotine may be addictive to people, the tobacco tax is 10 times more addictive to government. Its so important, that states still provide subsidies to tobacco farmers. In the ultimate irony... many states used their windfalls several years ago from the big tobacco lawsuit to pay for those subsidies. The very way in which that settlement was structured guarantees that tobacco sales would remain strong, and that the tobacco companies would be protected or even strengthened. They are able to easily push the cost to the consumer in the price of a pack of smokes, and its harder for new companies to come into the business offering protection to existing companies.

Taxing pornography is no different. And while its an interesting argument to make, there is so much pornography that comes from the internet on sites that are outside of the US, I don't know how its even that technically feasible. However, just the fact that they're making the proposal tells you that they don't find pornography all that objectionable... because they're willing to tie themselves to the addictive money. The very fact that they're saying they will decrease other taxes proves it. They aren't planning on using this money to fight the so called social ills caused by pornography (whatever those are). They're going to highways roads with this money (that will probably have adult stores along side them).

This is absolute hypocrisy on the part of so called social conservatives. And please don't take this to mean that I'm in favor of such a tax... because I'm most definitely not, for any reason.

Comments:

gotta love politics. Pledged to not raise taxes, want porn, want a tax on porn...mmmm. Yep, sounds like government at work to me.

  Posted at December 04, 2005 5:51 PM by Blogger Party Girl  
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Name: Nick
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States

I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.


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