Is there a more dynamic industry than wireless communications?
In a relatively short time a cell phone has become a necessity to virtually everyone, and one of the areas of most rapid technological innovation is in wireless handsets. Every few months one company or another introduces a new, feature-rich handset, which consumers eagerly gobble up.
At the same time, service providers compete fiercely for customers, continually upgrading their networks to provide better and faster service and even financing consumers’ purchase of sophisticated handsets.
This is at least one industry that has succeeded in creating high-paying jobs, pleasing consumers, delivering innovation, and funneling tax revenue to virtually every level of government. You’d think government would be pleased, but from San Francisco to Maine, and at many stops in between, mobile phones are under attack by radical opportunists.
This week it was Maine, apparently following the example of San Francisco, considering whether the state should impose regulations that would require health-related warning labels on mobile devices, despite the lack of evidence, and ignoring the fact that government restrictions are already in place. The American Cancer Society, World Health Organization, the Food and Drug Administration, the FCC, OSHA, EPA, and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection all agree: A survey of the recent scientific literature shows there is no clear evidence of any link between mobile devices and health problems.
Across the country mobile devices are taxed at obscene levels–higher taxes than states place on pornography, alcohol or gambling winnings. But why? Are phones a special drain on the public infrastructure? No.The answer is easy: politicians and tax collectors can. As the government spending binge continues from the nation’s to state capitols, revenue is needed to feed the politician’s desires. Given the ubiquity of mobile phones they are easy targets.
The IRS is in the game of looting the mobile industry. Offended that employees might make a few personal calls on their company-provided mobile phones, the IRS wants to require that logs are kept of nonbusiness calls and levy taxes on those as a business benefit.
Isn’t it time to end these discriminatory, wrong-headed policies and free consumers from the opportunistic fear-mongering, costs and red tape?
‘Today’s TechByte was written by Bartlett D. Cleland, director of IPI Center for Technology Freedom.’