New taxes to bail-out print journalism

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 84% oppose a three percent (3%) tax on monthly cell phone bills to help newspapers and traditional journalism.

Similarly, 76% oppose a proposed five percent tax on the purchase of consumer electronic items such as computers, iPads and Kindles to help support newspapers and traditional journalism. Seventy-four percent (74%) oppose the proposal to tax web sites like the Drudge Report to help the newspapers they draw their headlines from.


Although I lament this because newspapers have been a big part of my adult life, how many 20-somethings do you know who read a newspaper on a regular basis? I don’t know if there are any statistics about this but I’d venture to say that the percentage is in the single digits.

According to a new study from Experian Simmons, 87 percent [of] Americans have at least one mobile device, and it’s not just young people. Though adults under 50 are most likely to have a mobile phone, at 93 percent, 78 percent of adults over 60 also own a mobile. Part of the reason for this high adoption rate is the phones’ increasing versatility. Seventy percent of users now take pictures with their mobiles, while 31 percent access the internet

Most of them, and us, get our news online or on television. They aren’t reading newspapers and fewer of  us are reading news magazines.  Many of us have Kindle, Ipad and Iphones with internet access and almost all of us have access to home computers. That’s where the news is being disseminated.

So this is why the new idea being floated by our government to force a 3% tax on our cell phone bills to save print journalism is going to sink. Not only is it going to sink, it’s the stupidest idea yet. Do my kids want to pay this? Do they want to bail-out newspapers with taxes on their cell phones? My kids have ink in their blood (my daughter does still read the newspaper, after she’s done the crossword puzzle) but I’m quite sure that they will not want to pay an extra 5% tax on the next purchase of some electronic device to bail out the NY Times – a newspaper they don’t read – or any other newspaper, for that matter.

Has the NY Times, print journalism et al, became the next “too big to fail” segment of our private sector? If the age has outpaced print journalism, so be it. We did, after all, leave the horse and buggy behind for cars and those manufacturers had to diversify or fail. Print journalism will have to do the same. Why should people who have no vested interest in it, be responsible to save it?

But be not mistaken. This is not a bail-out as much as it is another attack on the free market. If the truth be really told, nationalizing car companies, banks and possibly, oil companies in the near future, were not bail-outs, either. All of this is nothing more than the dismantling of the American free-market system by the communists who are now in charge.

“A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.” That means that everything the government has given (in bail-outs) can also be taken back. Those industries that have accepted the bail-outs and government take-overs, are at the mercy of the powerful who can pull the money rug out from under them if they decide that keeping a “too big to fail” industry going is not in their best interests.

Newspapers beware.

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3 responses to “New taxes to bail-out print journalism

  • samhenry

    The government supports journalism – it is no longer journalism but propaganda.

    I hate the passing of papers because even the poorest of the poor could find a discarded one to read somewhere. But not everyone has a computer and is computer literate. We are going to end up with a very illiterate underclass that will be ripe for being swayed with the rhetoric of the Obamas of the world. It is a problem.

  • roxannadanna

    From Hamlet –
    Polonius:
    Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
    And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

    In the end, the money (as well as the friendship) is lost and the borrower learns to no longer practice husbandry (thriftiness.) This is what happens when the government hands out money to every failing enterprise or person – they no longer feel the need to be thrifty, to find cost cutting and more ingenious methods to stay in business.

    Government bail-outs “dull the edge” of creativity that is the hallmark of capitalism.

  • steve

    There is a saying; “The borrower is servant to the lender”. Utter foolishnes for the crooks in Washington to have as much power as they have.

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