More on Taxing the Internet

Somebody very unintelligent (well, what can you expect from Inside Higher Ed?) wrote an article praising the idea of taxing the Internet. Of course, this is the kind of person who writes things like “a sharp stratification of economic strata” and “the Internet may now be expected to assume more obligations to give back to global society at large a measure of its collective wealth”, so there is no need to take this person seriously.

However, it is curious how the slogan of “just tax the bastards” is so attractive to certain folks as a way to solve any and all problems that they don’t even stop to consider where encouraging greater governmental regulations of the Internet would leave us all. While some people are bravely fighting off all attempts at Internet censorship, some pseudo-Liberals are so enthralled by the word “taxes” that they don’t stop to evaluate the consequences of the measures they support. Once the government begins to punish certain completely legal online behaviors, censorship will be one step away. And the entities that will suffer as a result will not be Google, Amazon and Facebook. It will be me and you.

Liberals like to consider themselves much smarter than the perennially childish Libertarians. Still, there is no real difference between believing that all taxes are good all of the time and being convinced that all taxes are bad all of the time. Life is a little more complicated than that.

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60 comments on “More on Taxing the Internet

  1. The Internet is a breeding ground for amateur liberals, conservatives, and libertarians. I’m assuming the kinds of libertarians that you’ve had to argue with were of that variety, depending on whether they identified themselves as minarchists, right-libertarians or anarcho-capitalists. There are certainly left-libertarians out there, like the ones over at the Bleeding Heart Libertarians website if you’re interested in seeing those. For my sake, I’d rather avoid trying to be part of any political movement because there’s always the danger of falling into dogmatism.

    • “For my sake, I’d rather avoid trying to be part of any political movement because there’s always the danger of falling into dogmatism.”

      – I feel the same. I even kind of envy people who somehow manage to subscribe to every idea that their side advances. I never manage to do that and get flak from all sides. :-)

      • “I never manage to do that and get flak from all sides”

        I know the feeling, I remember once in my undergrad days being called a right wing reactionary and a communist sympathiser on the same day (at least from different people) when I didn’t particularly identify with either extreme.

        I’ve also managed to be labelled both a feminist suck up and mysoginist on the internet (again I like to think I’m neither).

  2. Tax is thief, so tax is always a wrong thing. But there’s some taxes that are less bad than others, and contrary to the right libertarian premise, less taxing doesn’t necessarily engenders more liberty.

      • No,

        1) Tuition hikes are not caused by not taxing enough. (oh, and statist leftists and rightists doesn’t like me when I say that) It’s caused by wedge politics and bad governement choices.

        2) Because of my “But” sentence. I prefer to live in a civil rights heaven with 75% of tax rate than to live in a police state with 10% of tax rate, contrary to right libertarians.

        • “Tuition hikes are not caused by not taxing enough. (oh, and statist leftists and rightists doesn’t like me when I say that) It’s caused by wedge politics and bad governement choices.”

          – Who will pay for higher education if there are no taxes at all? Obviously, the only source of money would be tuition. Imagine how enormously high it would be.

  3. Out of topic. And this time, I disagree totally to it:

    “you hate how straight men use sex to terrorize their female-bodied partners by giving us pregnancy scares and having a deliberately contrarian libido which never, ever matches ours. perhaps, you resent how your mother and everyone always told you that “all men want is sex” but then once you started having it yourself, you realized that men really dont want to fuck that often — just enough to make you afraid you are pregnant every month, but never enough to give you any real pleasure. yes? welcome to female heterosexuality. thats pretty much the definition of it.”

    http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/on-gay-transmen/

  4. “Obviously, the only source of money would be tuition.”

    No, and in fact, this is not the case even right now.

    And again, I talked about tuition hikes in Québec. This hike is not caused by not taxing enough.

      • This is a different context of what it occurs in Québec right now, but you look at what it occurs right now at Harvard for example and if you look at the new technological possibilities, students will not pay as much as you think.

        • “This is a different context of what it occurs in Québec right now, but you look at what it occurs right now at Harvard for example and if you look at the new technological possibilities, students will not pay as much as you think.”

          – You are avoiding an answer. Students at Harvard pay $55,000 per year right now. Is that what you want for Quebecois students? because that’s the kind of tuition hike you will see if there is no taxation.

          My students pay at least 10 times less than students at Harvard because of state taxation. None of them could afford $55,000 per year.

  5. “the Internet may now be expected to assume more obligations to give back to global society at large a measure of its collective wealth”

    I think my brain died trying to process that sentence.

      • This is all empty verbiage that does not address the question. If this is not paid for by taxes, what is the alternative? The only real alternative to taxation is a multitude of illiterate people dying of diseases and a bunch of billionaires living even better than they do now.

        It’s shocking to me that people who promote this “all taxes are bad” idea refuse to look even at the most obvious consequences of their beliefs. This refusal to think the idea through even at the most basic level makes me suspect this is all about personal psychology, not politics.

        A taxless society will only favor those who can hire a private army of their own. If you are not such a person, then what possesses you to sacrifice your own interests for the sake of these billionaire? Is there no class consciousness at all? This whole anti-tax idea was invented by billionaires who want to exploit you personally even more than they do already. Why are you so passionate about making them even richer and yourself even poorer? In return for the “freedom” to be killed at the billionaires’ will or starved by them if they find that more convenient?

        This is mind-boggling.

      • “It’s shocking to me that people who promote this ‘all taxes are bad’ idea refuse to look even at the most obvious consequences of their beliefs. This refusal to think the idea through even at the most basic level makes me suspect this is all about personal psychology, not politics.”

        In the Gilded Age, the robber barons were amongst the most powerful people in the US. These “all taxes are bad”/unlimited “liberty” for businesspeople folks seem to have this grandiose delusion that they’ll be at the table with the robber barons (as one of them), rather than one of the poor people with no stake in the system.

        • “In the Gilded Age, the robber barons were amongst the most powerful people in the US. These “all taxes are bad”/unlimited “liberty” for businesspeople folks seem to have this grandiose delusion that they’ll be at the table with the robber barons (as one of them), rather than one of the poor people with no stake in the system.”

          – Exactly! I actually lived in the midst of the bandit wars when society was shattered and the government mostly non-existent. And it ain’t that much fun for regular people with no possibility to hire an army and huge capital accumulated in advance.

          This is a delusion, nothing else.

      • Those billionnaires, who became rich because of the capitalist thief economy, would not be billionnaires in an anarchist environment. And actual billionnaires love the governement, but only to serve them. They are for “very low taxes”, not for “no taxes”.

        Like I said before: I prefer to live in a civil rights heaven with a 75% tax rate than to live in a police state with a 10% tax rate, contrary to right libertarians. Those pro-low-taxes billionnaires have no problem at all with the police, they crave for it.

      • Those billionnaires, who became rich because of the capitalist thief economy, would not be billionnaires in an anarchist environment. And actual billionnaires love the governement, but only to serve them. They are for “very low taxes”, not for “no taxes”.

        Like I said before: I prefer to live in a civil rights heaven with a 75% tax rate than to live in a police state with a 10% tax rate, contrary to right libertarians. Those pro-low-taxes billionnaires have no problem at all with the police state, they crave for it.

        • “Those pro-low-taxes billionnaires have no problem at all with the police state, they crave for it.”

          – This is simply not true. In the FSU, anti-tax billionaires didn’t want a police state. They didn’t want any state. In Russia, only a partial re-birth of a somewhat police state made the country a little more livable compared with the no-state/no-taxes “paradise.”

          I will now repeat my very simple question for the sixth time: If higher education is not paid for by taxes, what is the alternative? Who will pay? With what money? I’d like to hear an actual alternative, not a fantasy about the elimination of HR departments that will save such a puny amount of money it bores me even to mention it.

        • “Okay, you’re in favor of thief, except when you don’t like it.”

          – It’s impossible to have a discussion when people are so careless about terminology. If I willingly and happily contribute a part of my income to make sure that nobody around me starves, dies of treatable diseases and remains illiterate, that is not a theft. No dictionary on the planet will tell you it is.

          Here is the definition of the word theft for you: “In common usage, theft is the taking of another person’s property without that person’s permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.”

          I not only consent to pay taxes, I welcome paying them.

  6. “If higher education is not paid for by taxes, what is the alternative? Who will pay? With what money? ”

    Anybody who beneficiates for higher ed could pay, and this would not be only students. Even today, there some philantropists (that explains in part why McGill is the best university in Québec) and there will be more. The money will come from economy in administration costs and money not stolen by the government to kill fucking muslims, to bail out Government Motors or bridges to nowhere.

    • “Anybody who beneficiates for higher ed could pay, and this would not be only students. Even today, there some philantropists”

      – And if those kindly benefactors have no interest in giving these handouts, to hell with educating the poor? Also, do you really believe any institution can exist without being able to plan anything? Just sit there waiting that maybe somebody brings a gift and then we will see if we can continue a research project?

      “The money will come from economy in administration costs and money not stolen by the government to kill fucking muslims, to bail out Government Motors or bridges to nowhere.”

      – My friend, you are so funny. :-) :-) All this ‘stolen” money initially comes from taxes. There is simply no other place to get it from. If there are no taxes, there will be no money for anybody to steal or for anybody to use to educate, cure and build roads. Do you really not know this or are you trying to be entertaining?

  7. “I not only consent to pay taxes, I welcome paying them.”

    Welcome to the Harry Reid’s childish liberal la-la-land. And if you decide to not pay taxes, the robber will sent you in prison, that’s marvelous!

    Did you imply that everybody welcome paying taxes?

    • “And if you decide to not pay taxes, the robber will sent you in prison, that’s marvelous!”

      – If I decide not to pay taxes and withdraw from this particular social contract, I will simply have to leave the society with this particular social contract. Just like I once left the society with no-taxes social contract.

      “Did you imply that everybody welcome paying taxes?”

      – Only the very immature people don’t. I haven’t met a single person like that. Curiously, those who don’t welcome contributing to society through taxes, don;t really make any money they could be taxed on.

      • “Only the very immature people don’t. I haven’t met a single person like that.”

        So all those voluntary taxed people will continue to pay the same amount of voluntary contributions in an anarchist environment, and probably more in education than they could affort now because of governement thief.

        Personally, I would contribute more in education and pro-abortion initiatives than right now but less in racist killings, victimless crimes and controlling doctors to stop abortions.

        • When there is nothing left but gangs of murderers wandering the destroyed landscape and a terrified population trying not to starve, the very concept of education and medical care will disappear. This is supported by the entire history of humanity where this was always the only result of the death of state.

          Your fantasy is not supported by anything. You can’t even explain how this imaginary society will function. Or answer a single question.

  8. “There is simply no other place to get it from. If there are no taxes, there will be no money for anybody to steal”

    I agree
    ” or for anybody to use to educate, cure and build roads.”

    Yes, the money not stolen by the state.

  9. “There is simply no other place to get it from. If there are no taxes, there will be no money for anybody to steal”

    I agree

    ” or for anybody to use to educate, cure and build roads.”

    Yes, the money not stolen by the state.

  10. I don’t know any liberals who are hot to tax the internet per se. Tax Google, fine. Tax other data-mining corporations, fine. After all, the data-mining corporations are aggregating and selling user-specific personal data to advertisers. One might make the claim that the network hardware should be subsidized entirely by taxes from those data-mining corporations – no network, no data-mining, after all. Tax users for specific content classifications, no way. Sales tax for items bought on the internet, fine – taxing the objects, not the ordering method. Tax users for extremely high bandwidth use (commercial levels of use), sure. Tax users who pick up and send the occasional email and who have non-commercial levels of bandwidth use – not very efficient, bound to be a deterrent to commerce and education, and generally a Stupid Idea.

    The IHE fool doesn’t do a great job of describing exactly what should be taxed. Fool seems to not understand the difference between correlation and causation. So the level of economic inequality is increasing, why blame it on the internet, instead of looking at more logical causes such as politics, tax relief for the rich, decreased community and government investment in education, fighting useless wars without paying for them up front, etc.

  11. If you want to know im advance how your society will work, stay in your capitalo-statist delusion. We don’t become anarchists to impose an ideological philosophy on people, contrary to statists.

  12. I repost this comment because I think that we could agree on this:

    Out of topic. And this time, I disagree totally to it:

    “you hate how straight men use sex to terrorize their female-bodied partners by giving us pregnancy scares and having a deliberately contrarian libido which never, ever matches ours. perhaps, you resent how your mother and everyone always told you that “all men want is sex” but then once you started having it yourself, you realized that men really dont want to fuck that often — just enough to make you afraid you are pregnant every month, but never enough to give you any real pleasure. yes? welcome to female heterosexuality. thats pretty much the definition of it.”

    http://factcheckme.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/on-gay-transmen/

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