‘Make Them Pay Their Fair Share?’ Taxes-Yes, Internet-No

Note: This first appeared in the PJ Tatler.

In the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, we have heard ad nauseum from the Left about making “The Rich” – the 1% (oops, they now mean 2%) – “pay their fair share” of federal income taxes.

When it comes to the nation’s Internet bandwidth-using 1%, however, many on the Left are demanding the 99% pay for the vast majority of the Elite’s extravagance.

On taxes:

If the ‘Rich’ Are to Pay Their ‘Fair Share,’ They’re Due for a Huge...

The wealthiest 1% of the population earns 19% of the income but pays 37% of the income tax. The top 10% of earners pay 68% of the tab.

Bill Gates and I each get one vote – it’s not his fault he earns more money than do I.  I don’t want him punished with a tax increase for his mistake of being successful.

Now, let’s look at who uses what percentages of Internet bandwidth.

Top 1% of Mobile Users Consume Half of World’s Bandwidth, and Gap I...

The world’s congested mobile airwaves are being divided in a lopsided manner, with 1 percent of consumers generating half of all traffic.

The top 10 percent of users, meanwhile, are consuming 90 percent of wireless bandwidth.

“The top 1% of data consumers…account for 20% of the overall consum...

Sounds a lot like the taxpayer breakdown.  Only here these people are consuming – not paying.  And here the Left gets decidedly disjointed.

Nearly everywhere on the planet, with nearly all things – if you use more of something, you pay more.  You can’t leave the grocery store with ten steaks and pay the same as the guy who left with two.

We in fact already have usage-based pricing in wired and wireless services.  You pay more for four hundred cell phone talk minutes than you do for forty.  You pay more for four hundred cable channels than you do for forty.

So it would make sense that if you use more Internet bandwidth, you would pay more.  You can’t let these 1%-er bandwidth hogs ride on the backs of the 99% – right, Leftists?

Free Press, Public Knowledge Pan FCC Chair’s Usage-Based Pricing Sh...

Well that’s confusing.  What does the Democrat Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman have to say about it?

(C)hairman (Julius Genachowski) pointed out that…charging more for more bandwidth also meant charging less for less, so it could be consumer-friendly as well as a driver of innovation and consumer choice.

If it’s one-price-fits-all, you have to keep moving the price upward to get closer to covering the 1%.  By so doing you price more and more of the 99% out of being able to get any Internet at all.

And why should a grandmother doing little more than emailing her grandchildren have her price hiked ever skyward – to supplement the selfish 1%?

All of this blatant obviousness is lost utterly on the Left.

(Public Knowledge Legal Director Harold) Feld said it was not an issue of only one model, but of whether “all the benefits of broadband Chairman Genachowski has articulated in the past ever happen in a world where broadband providers get a free pass on any pricing scheme or restriction….”

Free Press…Policy Director Matt Wood said that the FCC should be investigating (usage based pricing tiers), not endorsing them.

As rapidly amazing as has been the rise and evolution of the free speech, free market Xanadu that is the World Wide Web – imagine how much (even) better it would be were the purveyors of progress not constantly impeded by Reality-free Leftists.

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Comment by USARogue on December 18, 2012 at 10:04pm


I hope you and Barry don't mind if I interject. You said:

This is why I agree with the "living wage". if we practice it we can ultimately lower taxes in the end because we can cut support systems. 

The notorious "living wage". I don't want to sound condescending, I'm just curious. Explain to me just what this "living wage” is.

Will this living wage allow me to rent a 900 sq. ft.  apartment or buy a 2,500 sq. ft. house?

Will it allow me to buy a Ford Taurus or a Corvette?

Will it allow me to go on a one week camping vacation up North or a 2 week Mediterranean cruise?

Will my children be able to go to a 2 year trade school or Harvard Law School?

How do you define a "living wage"? Is it the same for everyone regardless of their skill level? If not, how will it be determined who gets what for their skill level?

In other words, who is the unbiased, benevolent, arbiter that will determine this living wage? Will it be the government? Will it be Barrack Hussein? Will it be you? Maybe me? Perhaps the Pope?  Will we need a “living wage czar”?

Doesn't the free-market, the true free-market, decide a value for a skill set? How can we artificially challenge that? What if market forces demand the "living wage" should be higher in a certain industry sector, do all similar skills wages go up?

If so, why? If not, why not?

Again, I'm just looking for answers. This resounds of the whole "fairness" meme that Barrack Hussein has been promoting in his class-warfare/envy campaign. The same questions can be asked of his "fair share", and a "level playing field" advocacy. Who decides what is fair? How much is fair?

I have a deadbeat Liberal ex brother-in-law who hasn't worked for over 20 years because of a "disability” he acquired 3 days after he graduated from high school working for a roofing company. Although he can still snow and water ski and play in a softball beer league 3 times a week he is on SSDI. He feels that everyone over the poverty level should pay between 15% and 20% more in taxes to cover entitlements and social programs. Yes, even the middle class. Is that fair?

If so, why? If not, why not?


Comment by Ronald Robert Sorrells on December 18, 2012 at 5:59pm

Merry Christmas,

Comment by joana briggs on December 18, 2012 at 3:59pm

Fair is an idea that always gets me ruffled. I  did not get piano lessons cause mom couldn't afford for us all to get them so it wasn't fair. It is used various ways in this discussion. Fair?? For who?? 

Comment by Barry Gabrielson on December 18, 2012 at 1:28pm

Mitch, excellent conversation, thank you.  This is not an easy system to be "fair" to all citizens. Capitalism does not guarantee outcomes.  You will have winners and loser (wages) in any system.  Rewarding achievement is in my view the best system based on history and the present.  Why cant we figure out what it costs for support services we share, then let everyone pay for them.  Roads is a great example.  Let everyone pay for the creation and maintenance of the roads equally, not based on salary.

Low paying jobs will always happen with Capitalism.  There purpose was to give jobs to teenagers so they could have spending money to pay for a car, gas, entertainment, etc.  These were low paying jobs with very little skill set, which keeps the costs of goods low to the consumer.  These teenagers could see that this low paying job would never give them the American dream, so its purpose was to give them skills, a history in the resume for working, a good start.  Its purpose was not to support a family, a life time job.  This low paying job contributes to the benefit of the consumer as well as the stock and well being of the company.  Raise the price on this product, then pass it to the consumer is what destroys this business because consumers will go somewhere else for this product or services.  Raising labor cost, then pass it to the consumer only works for monopoly products and services, limited supply.  Unions raise cost, then pass it on to consumers which place less money on the consumer to buy other products and services, which ruins the economy.  Raising prices hurts, not helps the economy.

On the other side, I have worked for companies that have great wage disparities and corruption from those in power.  I have witnessed salaries of exeuctives that are not worth 30% of their large salaries.  I have witnessed  incompetent Management that were put in positions based on friendships, not quality of work.  When sales go down, Managers never get put in the layoff.  They lay off $8.50 an hour employees while giving themselves 5% raises at the end of the year.  I have witnessed Managers salaries 200K a year, 180K, 165K that never take a pay decrease to save employees jobs.  They get raises while destroying good lower level workers.  This happens in government all the time, same with private companies.  Powerful people get weathlier, not based on performance, but by favoritism, brown nosing, kissing the boss b.......  Its all about Politics, not actual performance.  Raising the cost of these services for taxpayers is immoral.  Where do the think the cost of 200K salaries and 400% Overhead get applied?  We are paying Managers who work for the Government 750K a year in salary and wages.  I have witnessed the cost, all gets passed on to the taxpayer.  Then Government wants more money, pass it on to the rich in higher taxes.  We as a society need to make things efficient at a reasonable price to lower costs, to be more competitive.  We dont since our government is inefficient, incompetent and unaccountable to We the People.  Many people in power are corrupt, from Government to Big business because they are protected against accountability.  They screw the lower level workers by low wages and benefits, layoffs and terminations while pumping up their salaries and benefits.  I have witnessed this disparity for over 30 years, makes me sick.  People I have worked for were incompetent, yet were protected from being in a layoff or from their own corruption.  I see both sides of this issue. 

Comment by Mitch Abreau on December 18, 2012 at 12:57pm


So logically you agree that governmental support services shared by all should be supported by all. Logically can't I argue then that we all benefit from schools? A better educated populace benefits employers because they have more skilled workers, and it benefits citizens because better teachers will improve kids effort at school, and potentially decrease crime. Let's use a road example. We all use roads, but lets say, for example, that I do not drive a car, I fly to work everyday on a helicopter. Should I not subsidize roads then? In the end we often pay too much for services we don't use, in your example education for a couple without kids, and often too little for services we do use, lets say someone on unemployment. Does it even out in the end? No, but I don't think that it realistically ever will. Plus this does, to an extent, already happen. Parents with kids at schools donate to them, pay for supplies, and generally spend plenty of their own money on them. National parks have usage fees even though they get money. Services are generally subsidized, but usage requires further contribution. 

No matter what there will be low paying jobs, its a fact of life. There must be janitors, there must be support staff, there must be retail workers, and there must be low level IT guys.These people often work hard, though plenty are lazy as you and I can probably both attest, and make mediocre wages for it. There low wages often contribute to the fortunes of the rich, for example, the Walton family, who does nothing and sits on their money. How is this not, to an extent, taking? The heirs did not found Walmart and are not engaged in its business. In a more balanced society their yearly fortune could instead go to increased wages which could get your "takers" off food stamps and into a decent tax bracket  The fact is in a perfect society they would not need these support systems, but because their wages are so low they often do. 

So then, the facts.

A: There must be low skill jobs, there is no way around this.

B: These low skill jobs will necessarily have lower wages than high skill jobs, this is economically and philosophically justifiable.

C: Everyone in these positions will pay as many taxes as their income will allow them to. 

If you want to end the "taking" then increase wages, pure and simple. The government can do this, and has, but it is generally hated and despised for it. So instead increase taxes on the wealthy to subsidize the poor. These are the options. If you have a third then let me know, because the fact is there will always be an income disparity, its just a matter of what the disparity is. This is why I agree with the "living wage". if we practice it we can ultimately lower taxes in the end because we can cut support systems. 

Comment by Barry Gabrielson on December 18, 2012 at 12:18pm

Mitch.  Everyone equally should pay for support services that we all share, like police, fire departments, roads, libraries, parks, etc.  There should be a cost for shared services in which each person is equally responsible to pay.  Lets say its cost 5K a year for support services.  Then let everyone pay 5K a year.  Why should the rich pay 40K while 8 couples pay nothing for these services?  Then the 8 couples attack the one couple paying for all the services, saying that they should pay for 10 couples or more.  They take from others, give nothing in return.  In order for our society to grow,  people must work, pay taxes for support services.  If you want 2 children, pay for their education, food, shelter, clothing, etc.  If you want 5 children, pay for them.  Its not the neighbors responsibility to pay for your support services for 2-5 children.  Teachers salaries are based on taxpayers dollars, our government is paid for by tax dollars.  Lets say couple A has no children, makes 150K a year.  Couple B next store has 5 children, both parents work, making 40K a year.  Couple B pays no taxes based on income and deductions for the schools, teachers, etc.  They pay no taxes for libraries, policemen, firemen, libraries, government services.  Couple B has an equal vote to demand Couple A pay more in taxes.

You think that it fair that Couple A supports Couple B?  Why should Couple A support those who dont pay taxes for support service for society?  So low income people have no skin in the game is "Fair".  Dont people go to college or trade schools to get a better job skill in order to move up in their social economic stature? We all start out in a low paying job, then go to get a skill to get a better job to make more money for our families.  The people who dont get a skill are not responsible to pay for support services, only those individuals to invested time and money to get these skills do?  This is immoral and irrational.

I believe everyone needs to help equally in order for this country to prosper.  No more takers who believe they are entitled to anothers hard work and wealth.  Takers need to give, not be a burden on society, always asking others to produce while they take.  Personal Responsibility needs to be implemented.  You want it, pay for it, not rely on others to pay for it.

I am not rich, not close to being rich.  I dont support the rich, only the taxes that they pay should not be based on their hard work and success.  Money should not be stolen from them to pay for others who dont pay taxes.  No more rewarding people to take, not give back to society.  Its what you can do for your country, not what you can take from others.


Comment by Mitch Abreau on December 18, 2012 at 11:41am

Barry: how would such a system logistically work? Of course there are some services only some people use, such as teachers, but there are also ones which all benefit from, such as police forces, fire departments, road workers and such. Under your logic I should only pay firefighters if they save my house, or police if they attempt to help me? And what about school upkeep, schools are used for a variety of community purposes beyond just teaching kids, often hosting community programs and sports events such as water aerobics, classes, bands etc. While your idea is ideologically pure it is in no way practical. Paying for what you use? And who would report these usages, those of us filing taxes? People would say they use nothing, and avoid all taxes possible, then complain about diminished services once our governments shrink because of it. Your argument seems to be that one rich couple without children is effectively supporting a bunch of poor couples and that this is wrong, in fact criminal. This avoids the simple logic that most of these lower income couples are lower income because the fruit of their labors is going to those in charge of them, who then must pay for in taxes. My dream is a world with no charity, no unemployment, no support services because everyone has good enough wages to not need them. But the only way for this to happen is if wages rise for all. The only way to encourage this is to limit the wealth of the superwealthy. How do you propose all of the poor couples get off of these services. And don't say get a better job, its a misnomer. And I am confused as to why you would not like to encourage children in the tax code through forced subsidizing of schools, we don't want to start having an aging population and no replacements like Eastern Europe, we will collapse. 

Comment by Barry Gabrielson on December 18, 2012 at 11:23am

Payment towards support services should be given to those who use support services.  If you have children in K-12, that person or couple should pay for teachers, schools, books etc.  Taxes should not be based on income, but on usage.  Lets come up with a value for support services, then send everyone this requirement to pay.  If you have no children, dont need teachers, you should not pay for those who do.  Couple A making 250K a year is already paying for Couple B and Couple C's children going to school.  The left wants Couple A to pay for Couple D and E, then pay for more governments entitlements.  Couple B, C D and E vote yes on higher taxes on Couple A, they are not paying their fair share while B, C, D, E use the support service, pay nothing for this service.  This is immoral, irresponsible, unjust and plain criminal.

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