Monday, August 23

You could have predicted this: City demands license to blog.

You knew this was coming: The Philadelphia city council has demanded that bloggers who have any ad income obtain a "business license" from the city.

So how much do the all-powerful councilwhores want bloggers to pay? Well, where I live a permit to have a garage sale runs about six bucks. So you'd probably guess that for a blog that makes a grand total of 20 bucks a year, the city would charge maybe five or ten bucks, eh?

Wrong, you stupid-bitter-clinger-wingnut. Try $300.

But we must hastily add that this is touted by the city as a one-time fee that's good forever. (Yeah, I'll sure make book on that promise!) If that's too steep for you, the city also offers a one-year license for a paltry $50.

"What's the big deal," I hear liberals and so-called "progressives" saying. "It's long been accepted that Governments [capital G--remember who's speaking here] at all levels have the power to levy taxes. It's not like anyone's trying to restrict anyone's freedom of speech or something!"

And indeed, people with no dog in this fight look at this kind of reasoning and think, "Now that you explain it like that, if it's a 'business' I can see where the city should be able to tax it as they see fit." And it's true that the city avoided the trap of claiming that ALL bloggers were running a business (even if one with zero income) and demanding that they all pay for a license.

But the current action is a mere hair's-breadth away from that point. One of the councilwhores said something like (paraphrasing) 'It doesn't matter if they lost money, or never make a profit. All that matters is that they received any income at all.' And that does have bureaucratic logic to it.

Of course commenters on the article suggested innovative ways to avoid the license fee: If the physical server isn't within the city limits, and the blogger has no physical office, so declares their place of business as an PO box in Scranton, what basis would the city have for claiming it was a business inside the city limits?

Your naivete is touching, grasshopper. Simple: Your blog's "product" consists of posts you write, right? Which obviously come out of your brain. Which lives at 4th and Elm in Philly along with the rest of your body. Q.E.D.

Hey, says the city attorney, if the rubes were prepared to accept a tax on carbon dioxide, they can't possibly be gutsy enough to object to this fee, eh?

And so the theft of our Constitutional freedoms continues in this, a barely recognizable shadow of the former United States.

A commenter wrote, 'What's next--is the city gonna start demanding that kids get a license to sell lemonade on the front lawn?' But of course, some dipshit bureaucrat in Oregon literally did demand just that. (Warning, link is to MSPMS.)

Amazingly (and most uncharacteristically, for bureaucrats), the dipshit backed off after several thousand Oregonians stood up on their hind legs and brandished several hundred pitchforks and nooses. But as wonderful as that outcome is/was, that ain't the point!

Point is, any gubmint bureaucrat who tries to assess a costly business license on a blogger raking in twelve bucks a year needs to be...well, back in the old days the polite term was "defenestrated." Since only a dozen people under 30 know what the hell that means anymore, I'm gonna go with "vaporized" since it's so obviously hyperbole. But day-um...!


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