mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Is that a tax proposal in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Volokh has a post about a proposed porn tax. It's one of those plans to raise lots of money for the goverment using the good old "but think of the children" cry.

Aside from the obvious free speech implications of a heavy tax on a type of speech clearly designed to restrict it, the law won't restrict access to porn by teenagers.
If you are talking about teenagers under 18, it's already illegal for them to purchase porn. Most sites also require a credit card for age verification and billing (or so I've heard), and people under 18 aren't issued credit cards.

But my guess is that most porn that teens dowload is free, probably off peer-to-peer services like Kazza and eMule. A 25% tax on something that is free is still nothing, and it will not discourage consumption - so even if you think the federal goverment should take action to restrict access to porn to kids, this law will not do it.

But it would make the federal government a ton of money, because porn is a big business. I'm also guessing that people who buy porn are pretty price-inelastic- that they would still buy porn even with the tax, because they really really want porn.


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