Friday, February 19, 2016

Pay to Pollute

Industry polluted because that was the most cost effective way to deal with waste.  They quickly cleaned up their act when it became more expensive to pollute than to not-pollute.

As an ever-helpful conservative, I am always ready to help the goberment.

Most conservatives accept Pigou's Solution as a legitimate reason to levy taxes.  That is, to levy taxes as a way to re-associate externalized costs back to the source of those costs.  Some people call it "Pay to Pollute".

Hate speech and trigger words

Most progressives dislike "hate speech".  Besides making them uncomfortable they contend that hate speech incites violence.  If true, then hate speech is very expensive.

In very, very round numbers, corporations pay about $4M for every wrongful death and product liability suit.  That number is roughly based on the contributions the deceased could have made to society had their life not been cut short.  It is likely that fatalities attributable to hate speech, even if the hate speech is only a contributing cause, would have a similar cost to society.  Most victims of death triggered by hate speech are their late-teens and early-twenties.

The proposal:

Every song shall be subjected to a "Pay to Pollute" tax on the words "fuck" "kill", "cunt", "bitch" and "nigger".  This list is not inclusive and may be expanded.  Additionally, a "Pay to Pollute" tax shall be assessed against radio stations and streaming services based on Neilson ratings for each time they broadcast "polluting" words.

Every copy that is downloaded shall be assessed a tax of $1 for each use of the words shown above.   Every time a polluting word is broadcast the broadcaster shall pay $0.10 per listener.

For example, the song Me, Myself & I uses the word "fuck" four times so the cost to download would be $1.29 + $4, or $5.29.  Surely a small price to pay for artwork.

Tupac Shakur, cause of death:  Multiple gunshot wounds.
Another example is Hit Em Up by Tupac Shakur.  It uses the word "fuck" in various incarnations 45 times, the word "nigger" in various forms 20 times and the word "bitch" six times.  This proposal would price a download of 2Pac's Hit Em Up at $72.29.  And here is a small sample of 2Pac's masterpiece

All you motherfuckers, fuck you too (take money, take money)
All of y'all mother fuckers, fuck you, die slow, motherfucker
My .44 make sure all y'all kids don't grow...

Not what I would consider uplifting.

I am sure a good statistician could find a market and make a first order approximation of the cost incurred for each polluting word.  Chicago, for instance, has several good Universities and is a stand-alone market.  I am sure it is within the capability of folks at University of Chicago or Northwestern University to calculate a fair tax.

Out of fairness, other towns with a high rate of gun ownership but with a lower percentage of rap aficionados, say Billings, Montana....Provo, Utah and Boise, Idaho could be used as a control to remove the effect of gun ownership.

I will do half the work.  In Chicago there were 444 murders (by gun) in 2015.  At $4M a pop, that is approximately $1,800,000,000 for one city, for one year.

I expect the fine legislators in Illinois to jump on this.  Those tax revenues will be very useful in closing up the staggering shortfall in their pension funding.

Joint and Several 

Unfortunately, we have learned that we cannot always rely on our legislators to do the right thing.

Our Founding Fathers had the wisdom to foresee this.  Consequently there is a parallel legal system, the civil law system.

If there are no laws that apply to the harmful behaviors, then the injured party (sometimes known as the next-of-kin) have the option of taking the source of the injury to civil court.

Should a young man be cut down in a hail of bullets on a dark, city street; it should be a small matter to collect the killer's electronic devices and access his logs or playlists.  From there, the "trigger words" can be tallied up and culpability apportioned to the studios that recorded and released the music.

That would  be an interesting lawsuit.

Activists say...

Activists have been known to claim that aggressive civil litigation has been known to reverse industry's stand against regulation.  They claim that compliance with Federal Law becomes de facto proof of due diligence and that complying with one set of laws is less draining than defending against hundreds of law suites in hundreds of different jurisdictions.  Industries beg for Federal Laws when the cost of defending themselves in the civil arena becomes to onerous.

I don't know if this is true.  I am not a lawyer.  Nor am I privileged to sip Chardonnay with many activists.

1 comment:

  1. Po' ol' Tupac. I always believed that he died of terminal stupidity. Or, as we say in other places; "Play stupid games, win stupid prizes."


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