A recent Fox News.com article – “Should the government tax your email?” – reports on a proposal recently made by a politician in California to tax the Internet and email in the form of a “bit tax.” According to the article, supporters justify such a tax by equating it to the postage charged by the U.S. Post Office to deliver a letter or package.
The fallacy with this line of argument is that postage is not a tax. Postage charged by the Post Office to deliver a letter or package is intended solely to cover the costs of processing and delivering your mail, not funding the government. Therefore, the Post Office charges you a “fee for service” the same as any for-profit package delivery service such as FedEx, UPS or DHL. Any argument that equates postage to a tax on email is specious since the two are not the same.
Also, postage on a letter goes to the Post Office, not state and local governments, which are prohibited by law from levying or collecting taxes, surcharges or fees on regular mail service.
Anyone with access to the Internet through a home or mobile service provider already pays various taxes, surcharges and fees collected on telephone and wireless service by federal, state and local governments – more than $10 a month, at last count, for both my home and wireless telephone and Internet service.
Adding an additional tax would be even more burdensome on honest citizens and further drain the economy of valuable capital. How much more money can government suck out of the economy before a total collapse occurs? It’s been said before, and I’m sure it will be said again and again, and again: This country does not have an income problem. It has a spending problem.
To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, government is not the solution to our problems – government is the problem. Federal and state tax revenues have hit all-time highs in the past couple of years, despite the slow economy. If the governments are running out of money, it’s time they all take a serious look at how they’re spending the money they already have and make the necessary adjustments to live within their means – just like every American family has had to do for at least the past four years.