Text Tax . . . OMG: California Considering Text Message Tax

The California Public Utilities Commission wants to make mobile pones more accessible to the poor. That is a noble mission but the means is likely to leave many irate.  The Commission will vote on a proposal to tax text messaging — a proposal that raises both political and legal concerns.

The vote will be held next month and is being opposed by various business groups.  It would like amount to a flat surcharge to people who want to text.   It would raised roughly $45 million a year in extra charges.

The California Public Utilities Commission report says that a surcharge is needed to fund the program for access for the poor because revenues funding the program has declined.

There remains however a serious question of whether the Commission has the legal authority to impose such charges. The Federal Communications Commission is expected to object. It could come down to whether texting is an information service like email or a telecommunications service under the commission’s authority.

If the California Commission prevails, it could open up this growing method of communication to tax increases and surcharges in all 50 states.

111 thoughts on “Text Tax . . . OMG: California Considering Text Message Tax”

  1. About 35 years ago, I had one near relation who was seeing a counselor and another near relation who packed his bags and moved from Boston to LA. The relation discussed matters with the counselor, who offered this assessment, “People who move out there generally do so because they think someone has hurt them”. The place has always been a cheat.

  2. You have nuisance taxes like this because politicians are searching for ways to close budget gaps without reductions in spending and without increasing broad-based taxes. It’s nice when it blows up in their face and makes them look ridiculous.

    The use of excises on particular commodities should, as a rule, only be used to capture social costs which aren’t borne by producers, vendors, or consumers. That usually means damage to common property resources. You impose the excise to change relative prices and have the parties bear the cost. Fines, Pigou levies, and vice taxes do this. Ideally, they would not be used for revenue gathering. Any assessed by the federal government would be put in a fund which would be emptied out at the end of the year by dividing it equally between the whole body of federal income tax filers and cutting a check to each. Ditto those assessed by state governments in those states which levy an income tax. In re state governments which do not, the fund could be apportioned among the counties and then each county would apportion it equally among the body of property tax filers. Each county and each municipality could do the same with their proceeds from such levies.

    There is one sort of excise that might be put in a dedicated fund and used for public projects: a motor fuel tax. That is because it approximates a road toll for those thoroughfares where it would be impractical to set up collection booths. It would be utile to finance all road construction and maintenance through road tolls and motor fuel taxes so road use approaches more of a social optimum.

    Imposing burdens on discrete economic sectors is poor policy unless the sector is generating some sort of external cost. The default should always be to have simple and impersonal levies whose burden is distributed about evenly between sectors. In the realm of sales taxes, a flat levy on all final sales except rent should be the order of the day. Whether the vendor is a public authority, a philanthropic agency, a business corporation, or an unincorporated enterprise should not matter.

    1. good point and observe that Macron’s gas tax hike in France was to go into general coffers not restricted funds for infrastructure or even environmental excuses. just another damned tax.

  3. Of course California wants to tax text. It will tax internet usage at some point. All officials have to do to justify it is to say it’s for the poor or the environment or road. It doesn’t matter if the proceeds actually benefit the poor, the environment, or roads. It will just go into the black hole of addiction spending.

    Successful people keep leaving California because of the high taxes and traffic. The crush of illegal immigration means that legitimate businesses who hire legal residents or citizens cannot compete. California votes for higher and higher minimum wage, work comp, Obamacare, and otherwise raises the cost of labor. But when it comes time to find a landscaper, nanny, auto detailer, or anyone in the home construction or remodel business, they go with the illegal alien crews. Because it costs less. They will vote for other people to pay more, but not themselves. That contributes to the exodus of businesses leaving the state. The demographic is slowly being changed with a shrinking pool of the wealthy in Silicon Valley and Hollywood enabling the spending addiction of California.

    Here is what is going to happen. When your investment portfolio resides in two stocks, you are so vulnerable that fate cannot resist. Hollywood is already filming in other states and countries becusae of the cost. The Hollywood elite will vote for higher costs, but they don’t want to actually pay them themselves. When they cannot negotiate special tax treatment, they take filming elsewhere. Georgia and New Zealand are saturated right now. At this point, the studios and celebrations are here, but a lot of the work, and tax revenue, is elsewhere. Lots of stars have homes in Austin, so the income tax is moving, too. That leaves Silicon Valley. The Silicon Valley of Facebook and GOOGLE infamy. Some of those nifty little apps that coyly ask for location information so they can provide up to the minute traffic and weather info sell your location every two seconds to around 75 different companies. They gain access to your phone book, voting profile, what websites you visit, what you write online, what you text to your spouse, and Alexa can eavesdrop on your private conversations in your own home. Authoritative regimes like China are very interested in this surveillance technology, especially with their good citizen quotients rolling out. There is a price to pay for allowing this level of snooping, and the public might find it too steep. If this backlash against Silicon Valley proceeds, California is in for a world of hurt. We already have some of the highest percentage of poor in the Union, mostly due to that open border the Democrats are so fond of. If we crack our two golden eggs, guess what happens?

    The benefits system collapses, more cities go bankrupt, and then you have a long, long line of entitled groups demanding their money. Unions. Illegal Immigrants. The poor who want all those programs that have been threatened to be removed should they ever work above a certain level. They are dependent upon all those programs now.

    There is going to be a financial collapse, and the Democrats will be desperate to avoid anyone looking into that $75 billion vacation train to San Francisco, the lucrative plums given to Unions, and all the pork. They will do anything to shift the blame from themselves, and will instead blame institutionalized racism. They will demand Socialism to take care of all the masses in desperate straights in bankrupt California. They’ll squeeze and squeeze unlit everyone who can move, will. Perhaps the rot will get so bad that there will be a nationwide call for Socialism to take care of all the poor that the Democratic Party policies, combined with Republican greed for cheap illegal immigrant labor, created. They won’t stop until we’re Venezuela, and the academics will believe it’s our comeuppance because slavery is the global ill that only the United States must pay for.

    On the note of illegal immmigraiton, Chuck Schumer declared that he opposed the wall because it was ineffective and not needed. His words. If it was ineffective and not needed, you’d think he would support it because it would be a pointless public work that would employee people during its construction. The current sections of wall that we have consist of old helicopter landing pads from Vietnam, easily surmountable. There are currently hundreds of people in the Migrant Invasion who are demanding $50,000 each to go home, or they will storm the border. Doesn’t sound like they meet the criteria of asylum seekers.

    1. I really wish you’d stick to the problem and not blame one side over the other. They are both parties guilty as sin. Really, you got a better solution?

      1. The ‘better solution’ is delineated above. And ‘both parties’ aren’t running California. The Democrats own this, tootsie.

      2. When one party consistently votes for higher taxes, criminalizes being successful, and drives businesses out of state, I call it like I see it.

        If it makes you happy, the Republican Party shares the blame for illegal immigration, though not its base. Some businesses like the cheap labor. Most citizens want a wall, and for immigration to be controlled through legal channels. There should never be more immigrants than the jobs and housing market can support, for example. With that disconnect between the wants of businesses and the average Republican voter, the party has been wishy washy.

  4. Free phones for the poor are not hard to come by. Virgin mobil and the ilk all provide phones and I believe are given tax write off status for it. Why would there need to be another pool of funds? Profiteering is rampant right now in the private sector, a better use of muscle would be to have them assume more of the responsibility, they have built Mansions on the public sector funding in the areas….

    1. Profiteering is rampant right now in the private sector,

      ‘There is no such thing as ‘profiteering’. It’s vicious sloganeering by the ignorant.

  5. Kind of inevitable. A few years ago the FCC started making things like Internet access eligible for Universal Service Fund subsidies. At the time, they said that they weren’t expanding the Fund assessment to things other than phones. However, you can’t subsidize something that’s growing with something that’s declining.

  6. Que George Harrison’s “Taxman” otherwise known as isaac’s anthem

    Let me tell you how it will be
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
    Should five per cent appear too small
    Be thankful I don’t take it all
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman
    If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
    If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
    If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
    If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
    Don’t ask me what I want it for
    If you don’t want to pay some more
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
    Now my advice for those who die
    Declare the pennies on your eyes
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
    And you’re working for no one but me.

    What I’ve always found amazing about this song is how it brings out what hypocrites the Beatles were. Especially John after he got his money and moved to the U.S. (to avoid taxes) he could write such stupid songs like “Imagine” where we are supposed to share everything.

    1. “Especially John after he got his money and moved to the U.S. (to avoid taxes) he could write such stupid songs like “Imagine” where we are supposed to share everything.”

      Yesterday I walked by the tribute to John Lennon in Central Park, a mosaic in a circle with the word Imagine in the middle. There are frequently people there singing or playing the guitar, paying tribute to him, but I often wonder how he shared his own money.

      1. I used to like the song until I really listened to what was being said. It is such a horrible picture of people having no reason to live. I have had this discussion with diehard fans and it is interesting to see them rethink those lyrics. I think most people really do not “listen” very deeply. Like it or not, greed is the only motivator that makes people anything. Yes, greed can be bad, but it is overwhelmingly more good than evil.

      2. Allan, this illustrates how little you know. Lennon moved to the U.S. because some cop in London allegedly framed him on a drug charge. Lennon might well have been using various drugs. That cop, however, was latter bounced off the force amid similar allegations. George Harrison, the Beatle credited with “Taxman”, lived primarily in Great Britain for the rest of his life; though he died in L.A.

        1. “Allan, this illustrates how little you know. Lennon moved to the U.S. because some cop…”

          Peter, learn to read. I didn’t make any comments as to what Lennon did or didn’t do. You lie too much and take things out of context but we are used to that. The sum total of what I said is below. Now that you know what I said will you appologize? Of course not.

          “Yesterday I walked by the tribute to John Lennon in Central Park, a mosaic in a circle with the word Imagine in the middle. There are frequently people there singing or playing the guitar, paying tribute to him, but I often wonder how he shared his own money.”

      3. That’s the thing. People like to decide for themselves how they share their own money, rather than allow the government to tax it and spend it how it pleases. The Beetles had the choice to give 95% of their earnings to the UK in taxes, leaving little for them, or leave and they could give 95% away to charity, or spend 95% on stuff. They voted with their feet.

  7. Give it time. Eventually some progressive will argue that everyone has a right to a mobile device. Then we’ll get the push for something that should sound hauntingly familiar: require everyone purchase a mobile phone plan.

  8. The way to access funding from cell phones is to nail two birds with one stone. Fine the idiots who routinely cause accidents and take lives by texting while driving. In BC fines start at $200 + and have made a difference. Stupid perverse ‘freedoms’ are not the freedoms envisaged by the founding fathers.

  9. You can tell a political movement is dying when it clings to the preposterous ideas of its fringe. Bye, bye Kalifornia. Will the last middle class person leaving, please turn the light out?

    1. It’s appropriate for you to have used “person” rather than American or even Californian.

      There are no more Californians in dystopian California.

      There are no more Americans in dystopian California.

      California bumper sticker circa 1976: “Will the last American out take down the flag.”

      The People’s Republic of California is populated with parasitic, foreign invader hyphenates in search of their fair share of “free stuff” from the white man’s money.

      Remediation through repulsion will only come through force of arms.
      ______________________________________________________

      “We gave you a republic, if you can keep it.”

      – Ben Franklin

      “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

      – Alexander Hamilton

  10. “The Federal Communications Commission is expected to object”, what about the people don’t they object? Have Americans in California lost their minds altogether. Please if your moving from California to another state don’t move where I’m at.

    1. Not really. They paying $12.00 a gallon for gas; we’re paying $1.99. It’s a tax revolt coupled with revulsion over letting Muslims take over the country. We avoided both with Trump. Put your yellow vest back in the trunk.

      1. Gas prices have been dropping for over a decade. They go up and down due to market fluctuations based on supply-generally supply has been increasing world wide over demand-and price manipulation for profit and market control-when prices go down, people use more, buy bigger cars, etc; when prices rise, people consume less, buy smaller cars, etc. It has to do with fracking and over production, profit taking, and control. It has nothing to do with Trump, unless you are that dim that you believe his lies. Europe’s, and France’s gas prices have been dropping for the past six months just as in the US. Prices in Europe, Canada, and some other countries have traditionally been higher as the tax contributes to pay for mass rapid transit, social programs, and vastly superior to that of the US, healthcare and education systems. Even with prices around three times that of the US, no one in these countries would trade their higher quality of living for cheap gas.

        The price per gallon in France is not $12 a gallon but closer to $6.15. On the other hand diesel prices are substantially less. Prices are higher in Norway and some other European countries. Gas prices are higher also in Canada, a country that uses taxes to fund superior public education and health care systems. When gas prices were over $4.00 a gallon in the US, Americans still had a substantially lower public education and healthcare system.

        The US, Canada, and European countries see their populations take to the streets and riot when they are upset. Riots follow home team hockey championship losses in Vancouver, riots and death are included in demonstrations about racial equality in the US. The ‘yellow vest’ activities in France are based on the widening gap between the rich and the poor-an age-old problem-in France exacerbated by Macron’s attempts to tighten government spending. The rioting is primarily a result of the same insanity that follows demonstrations in all countries, including the US. The US has a unique steam release. It allows its citizens to slaughter each other individually and in small groups with guns, to express that independence that is cherished so highly.

        Messpo, you are now double tonguing Trump.

        1. Issac:

          I never noticed before what a smug and pompous person you are.

          Glad that I don’t know you in person.

          1. isaac has never met a tax he hasn’t loved even when he knowingly knows it won’t be used for what it was intended.

            1. Jim22

              So, the US doesn’t use taxes, taken in for noble reasons, and use them for whatever, sometimes less than noble purposes? You get a choice, pay a little more across the board and get vastly superior public education and health care, or pay three times as much for half as much, with the risk of losing your house and savings if you get nailed with private, for profit, arguments. I am of the mind that the solution lies closer to the public paying for public services to the public, as in most other countries where it produces superior systems at less than a third the cost, on average.

              The argument that American governments are too corrupt and inept to use taxes properly so don’t do anything, is defeatist and absolutely not what created this country. You should be ashamed of yourself.

              1. About one half of the c.$ 3.5 Trillion spend on health care is funded and managed by government programs. ( If anything, that is a conservative estimate).
                Which are funded by tax dollars. Medicare and Medicaid are the two largest tax-funded programs, the V.A. system and the CHIPS program are among the others.
                So roughly $1.75 Trillion is already being paid for by the “Isaac method”.
                He advocates universal tax-funded/ government health care, and states that “most other countries where it produces superior results at less than a third of cost, on average”, referring to their health care programs.
                Our tax-funded government programs are ALREADY more than one-third of total health care costs, so the alleged efficiencies that Isaac claims are in those tax-fund programs already account for c. 50% of U.S. health care spending.
                Isaac feels that if we roll in the other 50% into government programs, that we can sonehow cut c.66-67% of our total health care spending and have “a superior system”.
                Even IF the c.$1.75 Trillion that is currently non-government funded dropped to ZERO, the government-funded part is already more than a third of our current costs.
                These fiscal fantasies are like claiming that the average family would save $2500 under ObamaCare, or Bernie’s claim that the average family will save over $5,000 with his MediCare for all plan.
                These programs do not add up, they do not pan out, and Prof. Gruber’s strategy for passing them into law ( relying on “the stupidity of the American voter”) indicates that the architects of these programs know in ADVANCE that they won’t work anywhere near as advertized.

                1. ” so the alleged efficiencies that Isaac claims”

                  Issac doesn’t know what he is talking about. Mark Litow an actuary with Milliman a number of years ago disabused us of the notion that Medicare was a huge savior of money because of its vastly lower administrative costs. Medicare squanders the people’s money and spends it in an inappropriate fashion. Even 60 Minutes did an expose of the fraud involved in Medicare.

                  Issac also doesn’t look at his home country. He should tell us how the Inuits are doing healthwise and why their care is substandard. He should also look at the waiting time and what the Quebec Supreme Court said about it when it decided against the government saying the wait was “inhumane”.

                2. Tom, there is no way we can have a market-based healthcare system that serves everyone’s needs. No way!

                  The old model where employer-based health plans served the general public is dead. That system ain’t coming back. It was dead long before Obama stepped into the White House.

                  And Issac is correct in the sense that Medicare has ‘less’ administrative costs than private plans. Private plans actually employ layers of administrative personnel whose primary purpose is denying benefits! Private plans also spend huge amounts on advertising and executive compensation.

                  One must point out that Republicans have been vowing to “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare for close to 9 years at this point. All they have done is sabotaged Obamacare to make sure it will never work as envisioned. But Republicans have NO replacement plan and no expects they ever will. They have essentially admitted as much.

                  1. “Tom, there is no way we can have a market-based healthcare system that serves everyone’s needs. No way!”

                    There is no way we can have a socialized or hybrid healthcare system that serves everyone’s needs. There will always be people that fall through the cracks. The problem is that you compare real systems with systems that are dreams and only exist in your head so you formulate a system that has no problems. The idea is to recognize that there are cracks in all systems and try to fill them as best as possible.

                    The bulk of our healthcare system should be market based but that doesn’t mean subsidies and other forms of government aid can’t be used for those that need help.The trick is to do so with the least interference in the market place as is possible. The best solution also involves not fooling oneself about how good or bad one system or another is.

                    The comparison of administrative costs between Medicare and the private market has been done though some refuse to believe the results. The comparison made is generally the same as comparing apples to oranges. Medicare pays private insurance companies to pay claims. That is the sum total of Medicare’s administrative costs listed but Medicare has loads of other costs that are unlisted but figured into the balance sheets of private concerns. Additionally the comparison is false on its face because the adminstrative costs you utilize are based on cost in relationship to total fees paid out. Medicare bills are much higher than bills to younger and sicker patients so the comparison is phony. It costs almost the same to pay a $10 bill as to pay a $10,000 bill so perhaps the method of comparison should change. [ If it costs $5 a claim then those claims costing $10 would show a 50% administrative cost while the $10,000 claim would only show a fraction of a percent administrative cost. Understanding this difference should make you think differently. .05% That is the problem with the type of calculation commonly in use.)

                    Try rethinking what you want and don’t rely on any ideology.

                  2. Peter,..
                    The “medical loss ratio”, what insurers must spend in actually paying claims, is 85%.
                    So if one imagines that MediCare administrative costs are $0, then there could theoretically be a 7.5% savings by transferring the 50% of the market that is covered by private insurers.
                    Medicare administrative costs are often understated; Social Security and the Treasury Dept. perform administrative tasks “for free” that do not show up as an expense for Medicare.
                    Private insurers are contracted to process MediCare claims; that is outsourced by the “efficient” Medicare bureaucracy.
                    We don’t know what “we can have with a market-based health care system”, given that we haven’t had one for at least 55-75 years.
                    I agree with you that the GOP has done a piss-poor job of “repealing and replacing ObamaCare”, or putting forward an overhaul of the entire health care sysyem.

                  3. PH:

                    Without any limits on use, socialized healthcare would bankrupt the system. People would demand a prompt doctor visit to remove a splinter or recommend a tissue brand. There are two ways to limit use to need. One is cost. When someone shares the cost of a service, they try to economize. A good example is the rich kid who keeps crashing the Mercedes her mother keeps buying her. She didn’t buy it. She didn’t work for it. So she doesn’t really care when she bangs it up. It’s free. When there are no copays premiums, or deductibles, the cost is paid with taxes. Only, instead of calling it a “premium” it’s called a “tax.” You still pay it. Only, there is nothing you can do to save money when you get taxed the same regardless of use. Therefore, socialized medicine rations use by long wait times. In Canada, for example, those wait times are months of needless suffering. Canadians cannot imagine having to pay at point of service for health care anymore, and those in the US cannot imagine being forced to wait for all those months in pain to have surgery. Even though the socialized Canadian healthcare is funded through taxes instead of copays and premiums, they are still running out of money. And those deplorable wait time scandals are often on the news.

                    If politicians want socialized medicine, they should tell the truth. Tell voters that it is going to take many months to get anything done. It’s all HMO, which we hate. Instead of a PPO, you have to wait to see your GP, then wait to see the specialist that the GP sends you to. There is much less individual control over health care in such systems. Then, there will not be the same medicines available. Research is going to slow way down, because it’s America that pumps the money into R&D. If America would rather have their taxes hiked up, yet again, just so they can say they pay higher taxes rather than a premium, and they are happy with extremely long wait times and having government bureaucrats in charge of their care, then that’s democracy. If politicians do not explain the reality of what they propose, then that’s fraud.

                    I do agree with you, however, that Republicans have failed to repeal and replace. They didn’t get the votes they needed for a Super Majority, and they failed to work within the constraints they had. I have to hand it to Trump. I had my doubts, but he did try to get Obamacare taken care of right out of the gate. Republicans ran on repeal and replace, but when they actually had a chance to do so, there was no unity. They were deer in the headlights. That cost them.

                    If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably read me carping on how catastrophic Obamacare was for me, personally. I had a PPO that I loved, covered everything I wanted, and was accepted everywhere. It was affordable. My premium was only $500. Democrats stole that from me through deliberate lies. They replaced it with a family plan that, last I checked, had a deductible of $12,000. The premium is the cost of a second mortgage. The deductible is the cost of a good used car. Annually. It takes a complete calloused view of the impact of this bill on the unsubsidized middle class to believe this was a humane thing to do. That vote took away my access to healthcare, and my taxes built that. It gave the poor a false promise of quality healthcare. That shiny new insurance card isnt’ accepted anywhere good. Most cancer treatment centers don’t accept it. Not a single doctor I ever went to accepted it, so on top of the insult of having to waste all that money on Obamacare, I still had to pay out of pocket to see a doctor. With the restricted formulary I had to pay out of pocket for some of my medicine. When someone posted fraudulent charges to my bank account and interfered with my auto pay, I got cancelled. Cancellation for non payment is not a special enrollment event, even if you are a victim of a crime. That is how the ACA is written. So I was going to have to forego insurance for the rest of the year, and was going to get a fine for not having insurance. Luckily, a relative offered me a telecommuting job with an employer policy.

                    If all of America had to suffer when the unsubsidized middle class did in Obamacare individual policies, there would be coast to coast riots that would have made the Yellow Vests look like summer picnickers. Anyone who supports this debacle doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

                    Why, in God’s name, after what I went through with Obamacare, would I want the government even more involved in my healthcare? You don’t reward someone who lied to you and ruined your health insurance with more power over health insurance.

                    Employers need to get out of the insurance business. All policies should be individual. The market should decide what coverage options there are. There should be policies for the religious, for the more natural route, whatever floats your boat. What we have right now is 26 forms of birth control without copays jacking up premiums, because woman are considered too naive to do the math and figure out they are paying more in premiums than they were when they just had a $5 copay. Meanwhile, life saying medication is off formulary. It’s crazy.

                3. Tom

                  Medicare and Medicaid are administered by the 1,200 +/- private for profit insurance companies. The administrative costs in the US are five to seven times what they are in Canada, Great Britain, France and most other systems. The cost of health care in Canada is between a half and a third of what it is in the US. Canada ranks 14th in the world. The US ranks 23rd. The US system is determined by oligarchs manipulating health care as a commodity, not as a service. There is no argument left to defend this ridiculous condition. You can cherry pick statistics all you want; but when it comes down to it, the US system serves the investors in the stocks, the CEOs and other high paid theives like Rick Scott, now a senator who will keep the money flowing, and approximately half a million unnecessary workers that complicate everything. Ask any doctor and they will tell you they need at least four clerks to keep up with the mess, a mess that is typically handled by two clerks in the more advanced people oriented systems. You don’t lose your savings, house, peace of mind anywhere but in the US when you get sick.

              2. isaac,

                You bring up the public school system as if that is good for your position? The public schools are a perfect example of what is wrong with govt. controlled monopolies. Until that monopoly is broken down and handed back to the people and opened up to the free market, the school system will keep churning out more and worse idiots than they currently are.

                I will never feel ashamed for wanting people to rely on themselves over stealing property of others.

                  1. A vastly superior Canadian system where a High School Diploma is equivalent to a first year University in the US. A French system where a Bac or High School Diploma is equivalent to two years in a US university. A Canadian Bachelors from a university that Americans have to augment to gain entrance. A US graduate program in Architecture which was one of the top five design schools in the world. Yes the US has a lot to offer, but only at the top for the top costs. The public systems in the US are dysfunctional, cost more, and are well below the average of other systems. Those are the facts upon which we should focus, not the odds and ends used to argue a losing argument.

                    1. IOW, a fanciful one. I wonder what his actual employer does to contain the disruption of having a bipolar headcase on staff.

                    2. After considering how good these other school systems are Issac, the only conclusion about the nonsense we hear from you is that when it came to educating the individual they failed when you came along.

              3. Isaac – have you looked into the test scores of our “vastly superior” public education system? In many areas, we are graduating seniors who are illiterate. Students in other countries know more US history than the average US student. Bill Gates admitted that Common Core was a failure. If you think public education is so wonderful, I suggest you look up the Lattice Method of multiplication that rich Bill Gates forced every student to learn through Common Core. He was able to monkey around with the education of almost all students in America by donating millions of dollars to the Democratic Party. His method failed. We’re still using it here in CA. Instead of practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division the proper mathematical way, carrying and borrowing ones, our kids have to learn multiple gimmicks and get tested on each. They spend very little time actually performing these functions. I remember my child crying, “Why can’t I just line these up and add them like you showed me?” That was because all the kids were in tears over the latest addition Common Core gimmick. If adults have difficulty understanding it, why would they force kids to do it?

                Your last comment that people should be ashamed of themselves for implying the government is too corrupt and inept to use “taxes properly” is an emotional false logic argument. You appear uninformed on the issues of government waste, high debt, and the impact of high taxes on prosperity.

                The issue basically boils down to this – you either believe that you prosper under high taxes, or you don’t. There is certainly no shame in holding either position. However, this logical fallacy does illustrate the common problem of the Left. You either believe everyone on of their positions, or you are evil or reprehensible in some way. That is a nifty little trick to avoid debate, when one cannot win an argument.

          2. Monumentguy, …. I take it that you have not been reading Isaac’s comments for very long if you “never noticed before”.😊😄

        2. Not in California. We just got multiple gas taxes. They took the money we kept voting on for roads and used it for the vacation train to San Francisco and for pensions. Then they taxed us over and over again on gas. Because roads. We have some of the worst potholed roads and gridlock in the nation, and yet over and over and over again they tax and fine and permit and raise registration to fix the roads they never fix. Just goes into the black hole.

          The Yellow Vests are outraged because Macron does not rule on their behalf. He represents globalization, the EU, multiculturalism, open borders, mass influx of immigrations from nations whose culture makes the KKK look tame. Throw gays off buildings and kill Jews? Come on in!!!! Jews can no longer safely walk in many parts of Paris? Oh well. Complain and you’re xenophobic. Macron didn’t care what the obvious result would be of importing undifferentiated cross sections of some of the most anti Semitic societies on Earth. He certainly didn’t restrict refugees and immigrants to those who wanted to embrace Western values. How colonialist! Macron represents himself and his Progressive values, and couldn’t be bothered with how his policy has harmed those in rural and middle class France. France isn’t France anymore. It’s some war torn province in the MIddle East and Africa all combined, with no one getting along just like no one got along back home. That’s why you have merit based immigration from all over the world. There are people of all skin colors and creeds who would dearly love to be Westerners. Instead, the West imports more oppressors than oppressed.

          Another issue the Yellow Vests face is the dependency upon government. When the government promises more and more and more, eventually they can’t pay for it anymore and the dependents cannot live without it anymore.

        3. Oh, and people in the US don’t riot when they’re upset. The Tea Party didn’t riot over high taxes. Plenty of people were incensed over the humanitarian and financial catastrophe that was Obamacare. Politicians stole my health insurance and replaced it with something unaffordable that didn’t cover as many prescriptions and wasn’t accepted anywhere I looked. I was upset. I didn’t riot. We get worked up in CA when we got the series of gas taxes. We didn’t riot. We worked on recalling those involved who had significant time left on their terms. When the Left reworded the ballot to hide the fact we could vote to remove the gas tax, we didn’t riot. People riot when they believe they will get away with it, and when it is culturally acceptable.

          People riot on the Left. The Left proclaims that rioting is okay and a natural release for racial tension, but only for Democrats. So BLM riots. After white police officers are found innocent, they riot. Politicians and the media lie and claim it was a kid out getting skittles chased by a white (Latino) man, or a black man had his hands up screaming, “Don’t shoot!” All lies. Led to riots that were excused by the Left.

          Who riots?
          Antifa
          BLM
          Democrat African Americans urged on by the far Left because they were falsely told an incident was racist, or when they win/lose a basketball game (I darn near got my car tipped over once)
          Occupy ICE
          Occupy Wall St

          See a pattern? There are a few sports team fans that run amuck, but that depends upon the state. I’ve never seen any soccer hooligans at any of the matches I’ve attended.

          If Trump supporters rioted, you’d better believe that no one in the media would consider it a natural release of steam. Do you think you’d find Republican Condoleeze Rice or Candace Owens rioting? Anne Coulter’s weapon of choice is snark, not rioting. Even the Charlottesville riot was fueled by the Left. The KKK have never rioted in recent times that I’ve heard of. They are pathetic little fringe lunies no one cared about until the Left made them famous again. Antifa wouldn’t stay in their permitted area. They clashed with the racist protestors who were mixed in with the local statue removal protestors, with the express intent of fighting and rioting. If Antifa hadn’t attacked anyone, no one would have rioted. I now have to wonder what contribution to tragedy did the Antifa supporter who chased the guy with a rifle, who then ran over an Antifa woman provide? I find it bigoted and racist that the Democratic Party enables, encourages, and excuses riots among Liberal snowflakes and African Americans. They hold lower standards of behavior for those two groups, unless those African Americans are conservative.

          The Left has a problem with violence and racism. Virtually everyone denounces real Neo Nazis and the KKK (vs people the Left calls as such simply because they are conservative.) But there is not universal condemnation of the violence and anti-Semitism on the Left. They need to clean up their act.

  11. I work with the homeless. Homelessness also includes addiction and mental illness. I have yet to see an addict complain about not having a cell phone. In fact, their greatest priority is their next dose of Methamphetamine or Heroin. Some of my mentally ill homeless are so far gone that the do not remember their real name – a cell phone means nothing to them. The claim of requiring communications means to seek work is on the fringe.

    1. Thomas Johnson:
      Good on you for your work but don’t you think institutionalizing these people makes more sense than letting them live in the streets like stray animals where all manner of exploitation abounds?

      1. I have mixed emotions on institutionalization. I see the emotional logic of “the system should help them, even against their will” compared to the starkness of their lives but in my blue state the mental health facilities are often civilly sued for millions of dollars, recipients of court injunctions, and then the state throws money at the DSHS in the hope the problem will go away. The executive office of the DSHS might as well have a revolving door.

        The factual logic, at least in my state, is DSHS has been a failure for decades. Generally, the mentally ill violent criminal on trial forcibly get bedding priority by court order. Facility personnel are often violently assaulted and by understandable consequence, restrict their humanity. Working in a mental healthcare facility is not a glamorous job and doesn’t naturally attract nursing and DoC assignment. From a career and pay advancement perspective, working in a state run mental healthcare facility is often a dead end job.

        I my experience, the social service ground pounder truly cares and puts forth an effort often at emotional cost. However, as the administrative levels increase, so does the problem’s value – in a bad way. Budget amounts and personnel count are an important measure of status. Therefore, grow it, exploit it.

        1. Thomas:

          I’m glad you work to try to help the suffering. I agree with your post, but I have no answer. There are a great deal of homeless in CA, many of them addicted or mentally ill. There was a man in a fight with…himself outside of a store I took my child to. They are incapable of caring for themselves, and it’s not right that they live like animals in the street. It’s not right that the community is exposed to the fire danger from campfires in the hills, trash is everywhere from the encampments, and in some areas, the mentally ill and addicts literally poop in front of restaurants. You can see used condoms, dirty needles, poop, and vomit. That’s a public health hazard. I remember smelling feces when a city employee was leaf blowing in an industrial area where they keep moving homeless out. Their poop was part of the dirt, which exposed that leaf blower with an insufficient dust mask, and everyone else, to infectious waste.

          I do not believe that anyone should be allowed to sleep on the street. No one has the right to expose others to disease like that. However, when we had a homeless problem in front of a business, we had representatives of every single public service available come out and offer help, only to be refused. One one of them took up an offer of housing, and he threw a party, OD’d, and died the very first night. The rest have steadfastly refused, and only move when the police make them. There are also RVs dumping their human waste in the street. The whole urban part of CA is going to suffer from plagues if they don’t stop this.

          However, if the addicts refuse help, and the mentally ill refuse help, the reality of forcing people off the street and into drug addiction, housing, or mental health facilities is going to be hundreds of thousands of people getting dragged kicking and screaming. That’s going to look pretty ugly, and be frightening to those who are troubled.

          I also agree with you about the conditions of mental health facilities. A relative worked with someone who quit working for facility when she was knocked out by a patient for the second time. And yet, some of the those on the street are like that.

          Instead of wasting millions of dollars to enable homelessness, I would rather that money go towards getting them into care and no longer allow them on the street. However, forced rehab probably doesn’t work.

          I don’t know what to do to solve the problem. Human beings should not be starving in the hedgerows in the United States in the 21st century. Addicts blow their money on drugs, pardon the pun, and the mentally ill cannot care for themselves. The state they are in is terrible, with ragged clothing and ill health. They cannot care for themselves and just waste away in plain sight.

  12. There is no way. NO WAY I will ever move to California and things like this are only a small reason.

    If my state went toward a tax such as this I would simply cancel the SMS messaging ability on the cell phone and just use e-mail. But since I don’t use SMS it wouldn’t affect me. If they responded to the public’s move away from SMS and taxed e-mail I would simply use a foreign host for mail and open a VPN from here.

    Is there truly no place on Earth or thought process within one’s head that politicians and government doesn’t want to control and tax?

  13. MOBILE PHONES FOR POOR ARE NEEDED

    BUT TEXTING TAX COULD ANNOY EVEN SOCIALISTS

    Pay telephones have largely disappeared from America. Consequently impoverished people need mobile telephones. Most jobs require modern communications. Text and email capabilities are expected from even temp workers.

    Those lacking mobile phones are at a serious disadvantage with regards to employment. The old fashioned landline families depended on for decades never sent texts or emails. AT&T, what’s more, actively sought to phase-out hard-wire landlines.

    Modern communications are essential for anyone seeking employment, housing or healthcare. Perhaps a low cost model can be developed to serve basic needs.

    But a texting tax would annoy everyone. Texting is now essential in this age of spam telephone calls. Spam calls make us answer ‘only’ known numbers; creating further need for modern devices.

    1. What about all of the other things that are needed for a job. Car, housing, food, clothing. Should we steal more from the public to give to the lazy for these too?

    2. MOBILE PHONES FOR POOR ARE NEEDED

      Impecunious people got along just fine without mobile phones from the time telephones were common in the homes of wage earners (around 1925) up until about 20 years ago. Quit being a ding dong.

      1. Yeah, Tabby, “until 20 years ago”. That’s when pay phones disappeared from the public landscape. And shortly after that internet access became essential for anyone wanting live in the real world.

  14. NTWR (No taxation without representation)

    Somehow I missed the part where “general welfare” granted a right to text messages.

    Another problem with this is how does a user control inbound text messages from the outside? Imagine if a deluge of unsolicited SMS messages hits the subscriber and they are forced to submit to a large tax bill, the tax I imagine would be excise in nature and on a per use basis. A subscriber having unlimited text plan will still be potentially liable for these texts. Well, perhaps that would be most unfortunate if it happened to these commissioners’ personal cell phones when the public texted all of them to voice their displeasure.

      1. “Only tax outgoing text messages.”

        Why?

        Why not tax using a cross walk. Crossing a bridge. Turning your computer on. Using Microsoft Office. Creating a PowerPoint slide? Using Excel? Using gardening tools you bought to garden in your backyard?

        Unless we limit what the government can tax us on, there will be no limits. We will eventually be taxed on respiration because…CO2.

          1. Okay, explain in summary of Government 101 the justification for unlimited taxation, fees, charges, surcharges, and other costs. Please explain why you disagree with limiting such costs to the public.

              1. David – if you level an accusation against me, indicate what statement it is that you disagree with and I will happily provide more information.

                I certainly have my opinions, but I don’t lie.

                1. If you were referring to various proposals to tax the internet, please see here:

                  https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/12/fcc-panel-wants-to-tax-internet-using-businesses-and-give-the-money-to-isps/

                  Internet Access Tax:

                  Internet access tax[edit]
                  Internet access taxes normally take the form of taxation on Internet service provider (ISP) access charges. ISPs levy these charges on users. Currently, these fees are typically imposed at the state level. There is no national tax on ISP user charges. No uniform description of Internet access taxes is possible; they fall within the category of sales taxes in some states, and telecommunications taxes in others; and they are considered service charges, which are usually exempt from taxation, in still other states. Ten states (which were grandfathered under the Internet Tax Freedom Act as part of a political compromise) are allowed to provide for some manner of taxation on ISP charges. The ten states are Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington & Wisconsin. Under the grandfather clause included in the Internet Tax Freedom Act, Texas is currently collecting a tax on Internet access charges over $25.00 per month. Texas collected tax on internet access prior to the enactment of ITFA under the “Taxables Services” provision of its Tax Code, see older § 151.0101(a). Texas has refined its tax code to define “Internet access service”, include it under “Taxable Services” and exempted the first $25.00 on a monthly basis, See current Texas Tax Code § 151.325 & 151.0101(a)

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_taxes

                2. https://www.inc.com/jeremy-quittner/internet-tax-freedom-act-expires-in-october.html

                  Internet sales tax:

                  https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/369157-the-next-tax-reform-internet-sales-tax

                  I have done some of the research for you. You are encouraged to learn more about this issue. The California Air Resources Bill can now regulate cow flatulence and the methane emission from manure. (I can’t post a third link. Look it up). There is no end to what they can tax unless we draw a line.

                  1. generally the power to tax by state governments is constitutionally unlimited. the major form of redress for the population is election of new representatives to change the undesirable taxes previously laid.

            1. More information on the matter, and industry arguments against:

              https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/12/12/california-text-tax-state-considers-plan-charge-messages/2288600002/

              I agree with helping the poor be connected with telecommunications. They need a way to contact emergency services, be reached by prospective employers, connect with family. I’m happy to help. What I am not willing to do, however, is provide for text messaging, apps, expensive phones, or unlimited free minutes. I think that both sides need to cooperate. Those paying for it need to be willing to help, and those receiving that help need to do their part in mitigating cost. Having access to a phone is important; having access to text is just an extra.

              I do not know if they propose to use the text tax to provide more texting services to the poor, or if it is to cover phones in general. The poor currently get free 250 minutes to talk and 250 text messages a month. An argument can be made that some texting can save on minutes. I want to see efforts made to save money and be efficient with our spending.

  15. That notion is an outright violation of both freedom of speech and the 1933 law which makes use of non wire transmissions the province of thed federa government only.

    Two strikes and three is the word California. you are out.

      1. The point was not taxation of but control of two different things. All radio and television and any form of communication sent without the use of wires or fiber optics is under complete federal control. The State has no standing nor legal ability to tax it in any form.

        What they can tax is retail or wholesale sales of items using that form of communication but not the form of communication itself. That money would belong to the federal government.

        California taking it on their own then becomes a theft and in those amounts of money a felony. for each and every occurence. Which is not a bad thing as their Governor and their entire legislature could be sent to Pelican Bay.

      2. So you say.. cite the source of that statement cites, etc. and where the taxer got permission from the federal government. which means the 1933 law must have been changed by Act of Congress. Simply saying it is not proof.

      3. https://taxfoundation.org/wireless-taxation-united-states-2014

        “Provision of cell phone service is taxed.” Why is it taxed at the federal, state, and local level? We pay on average 17% in such taxes and fees. That is far higher than any sales tax.

        Government needs to learn to live within its means. The ease with which one can waste someone else’s money has led to rampant waste, fraud, and pork. Before we raise a tax, fee, or otherwise increase the cost of anything, we have a duty and obligation to taxpayers to see if we can trim somewhere else. That’s not happening. We are also not getting data on efficiency and cost effectiveness. It’s just spend, spend, spend. That’s irresponsible. It also hits the poor and lower middle class the hardest.

        There are myriad ways in which people are nickel and dime to death by government. It adds up, especially for people trying to cross the line between socioeconomic classes and improve their circumstances. The government is right there, making it harder.

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