FTC Proposes 5% Tax On "Consumer Electronics"

As part of a draft plan to "save journalism" (as in, "save newspapers"), the Federal Trade Commission has made a number of recommendations to Washington. Among them is a 5% tax on consumer electronics. Hey, game consoles are consumer electronics!

It's already been dubbed the "iPad Tax" by some hipsters, but really, that's a bit stupid. Consumer electronics isn't just iPads, or iPhones, or iMacs. It's a Zune, a DS, an Xbox 360, a PS3, a Tivo, a tablet, a laptop and a digital camera as well.

The thinking behind the tax is that it would generate $US4 billion annually for the US government, which it could then use to subsidise the continued operation of failing media outlets like newspapers, who have seen their ad revenues drop by over 40% in the past decade.

Putting aside concerns of how this would generate a conflict of interest between the media and the federal government, it's astonishing to think that consumers could be slugged an extra 5% at the register when buying a PlayStation to help save a newspaper.

While 5% doesn't sound like much, on a $US500 purchase, that's an extra $US25.

Before you grab torches and pitchforks, though, note this isn't law. It's not even the final word from the FTC. It is, as the FTC puts it, "solely for the purposes of discussion". Well, mission accomplished!

POTENTIAL POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT THE REINVENTION OF JOURNALISM [FTC]


Comments

    So, rather than these old fashioned formats (like newspapers) do something to bring themselves into the modern age they would much rather sit back, have a cry, tax modern technologies then stick their hands out and wait for charity.

    Next we will see a web site like NY Times suing smaller blog/news sites for "unauthorised news reporting" or some crap.
    Much like record companies and movie studios are doing now.

    This isnt what taxes are for!

    cool, so just like the GFC, instead of just letting people FAIL when they DESERVE TO, they'll just print money (or in this case, even worse: TAKE money from the public) to keep these obsolete businesses on life support? have they never heard of natural selection?

    its ok though, drip feeding failing businesses during the GFC sure seemed to fix all problems then didn't it! look how quickly the world is recovering! and with absolutely know hidden fallout WHAT SO EVER!*

    They better also bring in a new tax to subsidize the continued operation of the few remaining manufacturers of penny farthing bicycles, too. Their revenues have declined sharply over the past century.

    4 Billion to support the print media industry... they could just add it to their enormous national defecit.

    Didn't I hear somewhere that it's currently hovering around 2 trillion dollars?

    How about a 50 cents a litre petrol tax to pay off the national debt instead?.. discuss that.

    Doesn't Kotaku US have a US only feed so this doesn't appear on kotaku.com.au? Doesn't affect Australians at all.

      Might not affect us, but it's still of interest.

      It may not affect us yet, but take a quick look at our newspapers - reckon they'd pass up an opportunity to beg for a handout?

    If i hear the Americans whine about a 5% rise I demand them to be shipped over here to live their video gaming lives for 6 months and see if they like it better.

    The market has spoken - print media is on the way out. hey I didn't say I like it, but you can't be all 'free market! Unless we are going broke...'

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