Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft

FC: Financial Times commentary: It's time to tax all email

------- Forwarded message follows ------- Date sent: Wed, 07 May 2003 00:40:25 -0400 To: From: Declan McCullagh <> Subject: FC: Financial Times commentary: It's time to tax all email! Send reply to:

[Anyone remember that UN report talking about an email tax -- a thinly-disguised wealth transfer to African governments? --Declan]


Date: Sun, 04 May 2003 23:53:51 -0700 To: From: "Roger E. Rustad, Jr." Subject: FT editorial: taxing e-mail in the hopes of canning spam

An editorial that might interest Politech subscribers: tory&c=StoryFT&cid=1051389718756

Christopher Caldwell criticizes current attempts to regulate spam. Re: Lessig's bounty-on-spammer proposal:

"This is a terrible idea that will make millionaires of two classes of people: reprobates who illegally maraud through others' hard drives; and those who have built their expertise about spam by peddling it."

He considers the recent FTC spam conference "barking up the wrong tree," and thinks that the simplest way to regulate spam is through a tax:

"The simplest way to regulate spam is through a tax. This requires smashing some myths. A decade ago, Americans were gulled by politicians of both parties into believing that taxing the internet exceeded the government's capability. When that proved to be manifestly untrue, they were told that a tax would be an affront to some mythic libertarian "spirit of the internet". The tax moratorium on internet sales has always been supremely unfair, offering, say, Amazon a de facto subsidy against taxpaying local bookstores.

But, very soon, the Internet should turn into a penny post, with a levy of 1 cent per letter. This would cost the average e-mailer about $10 a year. Small companies would pay bills in the hundreds of dollars; very large ones in the thousands. And spammers would be driven to honest employment. The tax could be made progressive by exempting, say, those who sent fewer than 5,000 letters a year. The proceeds could go to maintain and expand bandwidth."

(If you fwd to the list, please remove my e-mail)

Thx, Roger contributing editor

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