Tax on Robocalls — Making It Simple

University of Texas-Arlington Professor Roger Meiners proposes a tax on robocalls in the Wall Street Journal.  The rate would be one cent per call.  To make it work without litigating which calls are unwanted, he would apply it to ALL calls.  That’s simplicity over fairness.

He proposes:  “Even a chatterbox who makes 50 calls a day would pay a mere $15 a month” for 1500 calls.  That seems pretty doggone low.

Since we need to identify the phone that is making the calls, can’t we start the tax, like income tax, with a standard deduction per phone number?  Give every number 1500 calls a month.  So make 1500 calls or fewer, you owe no tax.  For 1600, you owe $1 ((1600 -1500) x $.01) .  That seems fairer — if it’s doable.


An objection, from Twitter:
“They use VoIP systems, many probably internationally based and it would be unenforceable. Phone companies could invest in blocking spoofers but don’t…”

Let’s tax the phone companies who let them through, then.


Here are excerpts:

A Tax on Robocalls Makes Plenty of Cents
Human callers would pay it, too. But the cost would be trivial.
Roger Meiners
March 27, 2019 7:04 p.m. ET

President Trump can become wildly popular going into next year’s election—by imposing a tax. . . . Call it the Penny for Sanity Tax: a 1-cent tax on every call made. Fifty billion robocalls would cost $500 million—a powerful incentive to stop.

Because the tax would apply to all calls, it would avoid litigation about what can be legally disfavored. It would be impossible to evade by sneaking around classifications of calls. And it would not necessitate hiring more bureaucrats to enforce a complicated rule.

You and I would pay the tax too, on our legitimate phone calls. But we don’t make many calls, so the tax would be a pittance, hardly noticed among the many charges that appear on our monthly bills.

Tackling robocalls is an easy way for members of Congress to reach across the aisle and demonstrate to constituents that they actually accomplished something.




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