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Advertising tax

communities both reduce and profit from advertising
  [vote for,

Communities could turn the ever present and excessive merchandising and marketing that its citizens are exposed to into revenue, and possibly reduce sales, property,and income tax by charging a tax on any and all advertising.
gassyclown, Feb 27 2002


       Hmm. I don't know. I have a hard time with government treating people nonuniformly. I know some people don't like ads, but it's not criminal.   

       I'll think about it.
lumpy, Feb 27 2002

       Politics makes strange bedfellows.
thumbwax, Feb 27 2002

       I'd like to vote for this, but I suspect its unworkable. And as Mr. Bubba points out - the revenue has already been taxed.
mcscotland, Feb 27 2002

       I'd be happy to see print and TV advertising get taxed. Maybe they could tax McDonalds' adverts to fund the health service. It's no stupider than taxing air travel or insurance or beer.   

       But taxing merchandising (toys, stationery, food, etc with characters from films and TV on them) is more dubious. Partly there's definitions of what it is (how do you distinguish a generic Halloween witch's broomstick from a Harry Potter broomstick), and what happens if a toy becomes a TV show; do you tax it retrospectively?
pottedstu, Feb 27 2002

       Advertising itself is already in effect a tax. It is an extra business cost which is passed onto the person who buys the product. To tax it would just put the price up, not reduce advertising. Taxes may fall but cost of living would rise. No point...
ferret, May 04 2002

       Actually, this seems to me a good idea. It most certainly would reduce some advertising. Junk mail, for instance.   

       Tangible products can be taxed, why not intangible ones? I'd be surprised if UnaBubba is incorrect - presumably the revenue is already taxed. However, with my example of junk mail, they probably only pay tax on the costs, which are fairly minimal and hence attract little tax.   

       Many taxes are present for ideological reasons (and rightly so in my mind). So why not tax advertising more as well?   

       One can easily avoid the merchandising difficulties by treating them as separate. I think there is an easy distinction - something you buy is not advertising but merchandising. Since you paid for it, you presumably want it, and this is not the case with advertisements.
Loris, Oct 29 2002

       How is revenue from advertising calculated, UnaBubba? For instance, MacDonald's makes X dollars during period Y in area Z. How is the percentage of X attributable to advertising arrived at?
snarfyguy, Oct 29 2002

       Advertising pays the bils - it keeps radio and TV stations on the air. Would you rather pay a hefty tax onevery radio and TV in your house, like they do in Merry old England? I think not.   


       When on a narrow-bandwidth connection, (like I'm on - 20,000 BPS), it's frustrating to get all kinds of pop-up and pop-behind ads delaying the page you WANT to see! The ones that come as part of the pages are bad enough, (especially the animated ones that take minutes to load!), but when they pop up in front of what you're looking for, I just want to take the nearest blunt object and SMASH the computer, then do the same to the SOBs that put it there! THOSE guys (and gals) should be taxed $100 for every time one pops up on anyone's screen! THAT aughta slow 'em down!
IvyI, Oct 29 2002

       Thank you for clarification, waugsqueke. If that is the case, then this is most certainly baked, as media companies most certainly pay corporate taxes. Or perhaps it's a satire about how little tax big corporations pay in the U.S.   

       I thought the proposal was to tax a company on what it costs them to advertise (rent on a billboard, say, or hiring a blimp for the big game). Implementing this idea would both generate revenue and discourage advertising. Very croissant-able in my view.
snarfyguy, Oct 29 2002

       The problem with advertising is that it makes everything uglier. Better to tax ugly. Of course, some people would then have to take second jobs or stay home.
horripilation, Nov 11 2002

       I think it's a good idea. Advertising doesn't really do the public any good; for the most part it doesn't communicate any information (and certainly none you couldn't get elsewhere). It just shuffles money around. As long as we're shuffling money around fruitlessly, we might as well take some of that money and use it for the public good, reducing eyesores at the same time.   

       Perhaps this could be limited to outdoor advertising only, to avoid an impact on advertising-supported media.   

       On the other hand, it could run afoul of free-speech laws, in areas where those are considered to apply to "commercial speech'.
egnor, Nov 17 2002

       I'm dying to hear the proposed mechanics of an 'advertising tax'!!   

       Advertising is already taxed - in the form of a) corporate taxes on advertising companies and media owners (TV, magazines etc) b) income taxes on the hundreds of thousands of people who work in the advertising/marketing industry and c) sales tax on the incremental cost of the products advertised, which is considerable (why do you think Kellogg's costs so much more than Sainsbury's own?).   

       A more sensible idea, if you're looking to limit unintentional consumption of commercial messages, is for local authorities to add a tax to outdoor advertising in lieu of a federal tax break on outdoor advertising. This would allow communities to determine the optimum cost/benefit balance: tax the heck out of it to effectively end it (losing the revenue but gaining un-coca-colaed vistas) or lower the tax to end up like Vegas (ugly but rich). Communities could even vote to direct such revenue exclusively toward public/outdoor amenities. This has the advantage of actually being practicable, too.
georgist, Jan 13 2003


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