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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Philadelphia Blogger Tax

This story was amusing and offensive. Philadelphia is requiring bloggers to get a business license, which costs $300. The law applies if you have any ads on your blog.

This is a huge regressive tax. Even if your blog generates less than $300/yr in income, you still have to pay the tax.

I'm making less than $5/month from this blog via AdBrite, even with 200+ regular readers. It's very hard for a hobby blog to make more than $300/yr. I'd need 5x as many readers, to go over $300/yr.

I'm pretty disgusted with both AdBrite and AdSense. Google unfairly banned by AdSense account and I switched to AdBrite. Both AdBrite and AdSense serve mostly spammy/scammy ads. The alternatives don't seem substantially better.

Using a blog solely for ad income seems stupid. The only profitable blogs seem to be on "How to make money from blogging!" If I attempt standup comedy or agorism, a blog would be useful for self-promotion.

Even if my ad income were $0, it's still worth it. (My actual income of $5/month is negligible. My goal was to make $20/month, so I could afford self-hosting on a Linode.)

Blogging has been useful because I'm refining my ideas and getting feedback from users. A mainstream media author typically gets *ZERO* feedback from readers.

When I was in my State brainwashing center (school), I learned to hate writing. I was writing about stupid pointless subjects. I had to make sure I never wrote something that offended the teacher. My teachers penalized me for writing in active voice instead of passive voice, so I learned to write in passive voice.

Active voice example: Taxation is theft! Government is an extortion racket!
Passive voice example: Some libertarians believe that government is too big.
In a State brainwashing center, you learn to self-censor while writing. You learn to write in a passive voice. You learn to self-censor and not write things that may offend teacher/State. Blogging helped fix that bad habit.

Even if NYC passed a stupid law like Philadelphia, there's an easy workaround. If you pull all ads from your blog, then the tax doesn't apply. The tax only applies to for-profit blogs.

Also, it seems like a hard-to-enforce tax. How would Philadelphia economic terrorists know if a blogger lives in Philadelphia. I say that I live in NYC, but I could be lying.

Philadelphia's "blogger tax" is obviously unfair. It's designed to censor the Internet. It's a completely unfair tax for bloggers that have less than $300/yr in income. The "blogger tax" makes it hard to bootstrap an Internet-based business.

There's another workaround for agorist bloggers. Advertisers can pay you off-the-books! The more the State restricts the economy, the more potential profits are available to agorists.

In the present, the economy is controlled by large corporate cartels. That makes it hard for me to find legitimate small business advertisers. A large corporation will only advertise in an outlet where there's censorship. Look at how often someone is forced to resign when they say something offensive and corporate advertisers pull their ads.

Philadelphia's "blogger tax" is stupid and offensive. However, any hobbyist blogger can simply pull all ads from their blog. I'd do that if NYC passed such a stupid law. I might do it anyway, because I'm not making much and most of the ads are spammy/scammy.


Anonymous said...

I have a little experience in this area - this is not a "blogger tax" specifically. The city of Philadelphia charges $300 for a business license to do ANY kind of business - even if you're dancing on the sidewalk for nickels. They're just seeking to apply it to blogs as a business model (not that I don't think this is asinine anyway).

I used to run an independent comic book company that rented booth space at comic conventions. After the convention fees, this business NEVER made a profit – it was only useful for promotion. However, the city of Philadelphia insisted on charging for their business license – even if such a business amounted to a three-day booth presence at the con.

Needless to say, we dealt with this in what you might call an “agoristic” manner, avoiding both compliance and confrontation :-)

Anonymous said...

Philadelphia blogger tax is made to have a legitimate excuse to shut down bloggers who criticize the State. Imagine Michael Bloomberg does not like what FSK says. What he can do? One possible scenario is to send thugs to kidnap FSK, however it is risky because FSK will complain that his freedom of speech is being restricted. The tax law is a perfect excuse - now the question is not about free speech but it is about why FSK did not pay blogger tax.

Scott said...

Anonymous2 makes a very good point about reframing the question, and this is a tactic used in many situations. I wonder if the tactic is taught in schools, or passed by word of mouth?

Typical example, someone is arrested for protesting. No, they did not object to the message, just that this criminal failed to purchase a permit in order to protest, comply with requirements regarding $1 million liability insurance coverage, perhaps hire their own private guards (off duty cops), and then only show up in the approved free speech area for their protest. Since they did not comply with these rules that are applied fairly and impartially to all, they are criminals.

Or you will hear about a veteran coming home from work to his family who was killed by a deputy in a case of mistaken identity, shot in the back of the head as he was driving. News reports will stop covering the facts and start to report that 30 years ago, in the 1970s, as a teenager he was once cited for possession of marijuana. Therefore he is a criminal.

dionysusal said...

That would be a good chance for you to engage in a little "civil disobedience." The blogger tax is unjust. If they have the temerity to try to enforce it against you, you should be able to (cheaply) file a motion to dismiss based on lack of standing (no evidence of a complaining party) and failure to satisfy all the elements of a valid cause of action. No juris doctorate required.

FSK said...

Dionysusal, you have the illusion that the "justice" system is fair. If you ask a judge "Where's your jurisidiction?", he pulls out a gun and says "I've got my jurisdiction right here!"

dionysusal said...

You're right of course. Underneath all ,that paper is indeed a gun. But it's very important for the tyrants to maintain the illision of legitimacy, and if they went around plugging people indiscriminately, the jig would be up. So, if you can get them to hoist themselves with their own petard and expose them as hypocrites (the claim is that governments are established to protect and maintain individual rights, yet that's belied by what we observe governments do every day), they'll most likely choose to save face by leaving you alone and going after easier pickings. The goal is not so much to "win" as to just be left alone. But the odds are pretty low that you'd be singled out for "blogger tax enforcement"

Anonymous said...

>If you ask a judge "Where's your

A woman in the UK decided it was getting too late to complete her journey, parked her car and had a phone conversation. She left the heater on and the car battery went flat. She decided to wait until morning.

In the morning the police arrested her FOR NO REASON.

She asked the policeman why she was arrested.

The response is shown in the photographs on the following webpage.

Shocking. A policeman assaulted a tiny 5 foot 2 inch woman FOR NO REASON. SHE WAS ARRESTED FOR NO REASON.

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