Regulation through Taxation
One lesson from the United States’ Obamacare debacle has been that if Congress can’t get its way through regulation, it can always resort to taxes. At least that’s the Supreme Court’s view, after it declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional because it amounted to a tax, something that falls under the domain (apparently) of Congress.
So, now why all the commotion with Hungary using the same tack with the internet?
The Eastern European country has just implemented a new tax on bandwidth. Roughly 60 cents will be charged per gigabyte of internet transfers. The tax comes at a time when the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Oban has been cracking down on the media. Since the internet is now the most popular platform for information sharing, I’m sure the new tax will serve to limit the competitive capabilities of alternative news sources — Mises.org bloggers, for example!
(Cross posted at Mises Canada.)
David Howden is Chair of the Department of Business and Economics and professor of economics at St. Louis University's Madrid Campus, and Academic Vice President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada.