WILL UNWOUND #171: “You Make the Call – Should Drugs and Sex Support Libraries?”July 13, 2010
I get amused when I read what some library advocates give as solutions to our current funding problems. They use glittering generalities in describing what needs to be done. They tell us that librarians need : 1) to do a better job of front line advocacy and back room politicking, 2) to do a better job of using Twitter and Facebook to tell everyone how important we are., 3) to deploy our technological resources in more cost effective ways, 4) to develop new and creative streams of revenue, 5) to think outside the box, and 6) to change paradigms.
That’s all well and good, but how about giving some specifics? A couple of days ago on the comment board, Joan very creatively addressed numbers 4, 5, and 6. Finally someone stepped up to the plate, stopped complaining about dumb politicians, and put some creative, innovative, and even daring ideas on the table. Joan gets a big shout out. Here’s her three point plan to raise new money for libraries:
- If most, or at least several of the biggest states would band together and insist on sales taxes from online companies such as Amazon, Amazon wouldn’t be able to ignore it and simply open up offices in another state. I really don’t think Amazon is going to leave the United States entirely because of taxes being demanded.
- Legalize at least marijuana and tax it like crazy at cigarette level taxes.
- Legalize prostitution and expect Johns to report and pay income taxes on their profits, and charge a service tax to each person using the service. I won’t pretend to state I know enough to know if this would help most states budget problems or not, but I think it would. States following the lead of the IRS in going after tax havens might help as well. I don’t want this discussion to devolve into marijuana is bad/good/helpful with cancer/open door to nastier drugs debate. I’m simply pointing out that taxing it might help local and state governments a great deal. Ditto for the other taxes.
As much as I admire Joan’s courage and creativity, I disagree with her completely. Here is my rebuttal to Joan’s three points:
- The internet wants to be free. If you start taxing internet goods and services, you invite government intrusion into what is one of the freest forums of communication and commerce men and women have ever invented. Keep government out of the internet!
- By legalizing and taxing maryjane you are making a gateway drug completely accessible to everyone. Look at the deaths caused by alcohol. Imagine what the legalization of weed would lead to…any tax revenues would be eaten up by increased medical bills for rehab.
- As a woman how can you legalize the complete objectification of women? This sets women’s rights back a century.
Now Unwinders it’s your turn. How do you feel about taxing internet services, marijuana, and prostitution to support libraries?