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The Myth Of Telecom Taxes (Cont.)
Senators aren't stupid. They can spot challenges to their powers from miles away, and are quick to respond with countermeasures to thwart said challenges. That's what's behind Sen. Lamar Alexander's (R-Tenn.) drive to leave intact some regulatory methods to tax Internet and telecom services: He sees the tax dollars he considers Tennessee's birthright going elsewhere, or evaporating completely, and he isn't letting them go without a fight.
For his constituents, Alexander's battle may seem a noble one -- especially when the former governor and flannel-shirt guy
paints the picture as a Washington-vs.-the-states battle for resources. But what's striking in his save-the-taxes argument is its omission of spelling out exactly who pays the taxes he's worried about losing.
If you're still confused, check your phone bill for the answer.
In this age of rapid technological change, our leaders should be seeking ways to make the technology work in everyone's favor -- instead of the simple, stupid solution of taxing people for talking on a phone just because that's what we've always done.
Yes, the telecom regulatory mess is big, confusing and ugly. And it will take some hard work to figure out the best way to provide cheap services for consumers, while also giving service providers reasons to invest in infrastructure. Surely, government must play a big role in any such plan. But starting out by simply calling for status-quo taxes isn't a step in the right direction.
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