The Potential Conundrum of Regulating Pay-TV

Written by Terry Mitchell


In last week's column, I arguedrepparttar merits (or ratherrepparttar 125859 lack thereof) of extending decency regulations to cable and satellite TV. This week, I'll point out just how much of a quagmire this would actually be and how difficult it would be to implement, regardless ofrepparttar 125860 merits. Regulating cable and satellite TV would not be as clear-cut as it might seem onrepparttar 125861 surface. Remember, we are talking aboutrepparttar 125862 regulation of indecency which, unlike obscenity, is protected byrepparttar 125863 First Amendment. The complexities of such an undertaking are quite formidable, to sayrepparttar 125864 least. There are several key issues that would have to be dealt with and overcome. Like they say,repparttar 125865 devil is inrepparttar 125866 details. For one thing, Congress would need to determinerepparttar 125867 scope of what is to be regulated. Would it be cable and satellite TV only or all forms of pay-TV? If Congress sets out to regulate all forms of pay-TV,repparttar 125868 term - "pay-TV" - would have to be legally defined. Besides satellite and cable, would it also includerepparttar 125869 new IPTV technology in which TV channels, programs, and movies are delivered to TV set-top boxes fromrepparttar 125870 internet? Would internet video viewed on a computer also be included? Or would everything originating fromrepparttar 125871 internet be automatically exempt? Would wireless pay TV services also be included? Would videos, whether rented or purchased, also be defined as a form of pay-TV? One could make a case for them being included because videos, both VHS and DVD, are ultimately played on a TV. What about video delivered by cell phone? Couldn't that also be considered a form of pay-TV? Now, if Congress decides thatrepparttar 125872 new regulations will only apply to cable and satellite TV, there are still problems. Would all channels on every cable and satellite TV system be regulated or wouldrepparttar 125873 regulations just apply torepparttar 125874 so-called "basic" channels. Wouldrepparttar 125875 term, "all channels", include pay-per-view and video-on-demand (VOD) programs and movies? If so, how wouldrepparttar 125876 safe-harbor hours be enforced with VOD, sincerepparttar 125877 subscriber determines whenrepparttar 125878 programs and movies play? If onlyrepparttar 125879 basics are to be included, some definition would be have to be devised to determinerepparttar 125880 difference between a basic and a premium channel. Would any channel that could be purchased as part of a package of channels be defined as a basic channel? If so, then most channels we currently think of as premiums would be included because they can be packaged together with similar channels. For example, HBO is sometimes packaged with channels like Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, or even other multiplexes of HBO. Or would basics be limited those channels available inrepparttar 125881 first tier or two? Since this packaging varies from one cable and satellite system torepparttar 125882 next, how would anyone know which channels arerepparttar 125883 real basics? Would premiums be limited to channels that could be subscribed to individually at an additional price? If that'srepparttar 125884 case, would a multiplex channel like HBO Signature will treated like a basic, since it cannot be subscribed to individually? Also,repparttar 125885 channels that one can subscribe to individually vary slightly from one cable and satellite system torepparttar 125886 next, so how would anyone know which channels arerepparttar 125887 real premiums? When things like that differ from one cable and satellite system to another, wouldrepparttar 125888 rules be based on howrepparttar 125889 majority ofrepparttar 125890 systems operate? Or would some other method be used to resolve this matter?

A National Sales Tax: The Time is Now

Written by Nader Ghali


"If you elect me, Senator Katherine Laforge, as your next president, my National Sales Tax will give you back true equity inrepparttar share of taxes you pay. You will no longer berepparttar 125858 utilitarian taxpayer forrepparttar 125859 elite." "Hulagu's Web - chapter 10"

The heroine in "Hulagu's Web" is a true believer in Frank Chodorov's compelling view that income tax isrepparttar 125860 root of all evil. Why, under our current National Income Tax system, do billions in real income earned by criminal endeavors,repparttar 125861 underground economy and illegal aliens go totally untaxed? Why arerepparttar 125862 complexities of our tax code so onerous that onlyrepparttar 125863 wealthy can affordrepparttar 125864 resources, knowledge and ability to truly access expert advice on how to legally minimize their taxes? The answer to these questions is thatrepparttar 125865 everyday wage earner with his passiveness, unquestioned acceptance, and fear ofrepparttar 125866 taxation process has become politically impotent. His na´ve trust inrepparttar 125867 wisdom of his elective officials has made himrepparttar 125868 elite's utilitarian taxpayer. It's time to moverepparttar 125869 proposal to implement a National Sales Tax out ofrepparttar 125870 realm of political theatre and into reality. The idea bobs up and down during key election years but continues to meet stiff resistance insiderepparttar 125871 corridors of power. Clearly a vast lobby of Washington's politicians, lawyers and accountants with special interests seem intent on declaring such a proposal "dead on arrival" before giving it a fair hearing. However, soon that may change. No less an authority than Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has recently endorsed a National Sales Tax. While Mr. Greenspan has been known to easily roil financial markets by his cryptic oracles onrepparttar 125872 state ofrepparttar 125873 economy, his stance on a National Sales Tax rings resoundingly clear. Speaking beforerepparttar 125874 President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform, Mr. Greenspan said he believed that a consumption tax—such as a National Sales Tax—could spur economic growth. One of his most important arguments was that a consumption tax could lead to increased savings. The reason for this is obvious. If, instead of taxing income,repparttar 125875 government taxes spending—then consumers will think twice about what they spend their money on. Greenspan made it clear that completely eliminatingrepparttar 125876 current income tax with a consumption tax would meet with tremendous opposition and involve a great deal of complex transitional issues. It's also clear thatrepparttar 125877 loopholes inrepparttar 125878 current, convoluted tax system continue to benefitrepparttar 125879 elite and industries.The proposal for a National Sales Tax is part ofrepparttar 125880 President's push for a complete overhaul ofrepparttar 125881 tax system, a pledge he made in his re-election campaign. It's clear that no idea is offrepparttar 125882 table, and this one certainly has a long pedigree. Mr. Greenspan noted thatrepparttar 125883 National Sales Tax was considered back in 1986, but reformers instead choserepparttar 125884 more politically cautious approach of working to "overhaul"repparttar 125885 current system instead. So much for "overhauling"—the current tax code is substantially more complicated and confusing now than it was then. The National Retail Sales Tax Alliance, which supportsrepparttar 125886 complete abolition of our current income tax system, gives some key figures that illustrate how complexrepparttar 125887 system has become. They point out that inrepparttar 125888 year 2000,repparttar 125889 1040 form alone was 70 lines long, with 117 pages of instructions. Americans spend nearly two hundred billion dollars a year in filing their taxes. The current push for an "overhaul" should do more than simply tiptoe aroundrepparttar 125890 elephant inrepparttar 125891 living room. It should strike a dagger intorepparttar 125892 heart of this burdensome behemoth once and for all. The current tax system has made liars out of many otherwise decent, hard-working Americans, while providing endless shelters and loopholes forrepparttar 125893 elite and wealthy. A National Sales Tax is a more equitable proposal, and would bring in greater revenue streams. Everyone who buys goods or services would pay taxes. Unlikerepparttar 125894 current system where illegal aliens can dodge their taxes by carrying on business underrepparttar 125895 table, nobody would be exempt from a National Sales Tax. This includes everyone fromrepparttar 125896 honest workers to hardened criminals or drug traffickers. Withrepparttar 125897 acceptance of a National Sales Tax, endless man-hours and millions of dollars otherwise spent in "audits" would be saved. The chance of property confiscation for improperly paying taxes or going to prison for tax fraud would be alleviated or at least greatly reduced. A National Sales Tax will bring many denizens back into our society as productive members and true citizens of our country.

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