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Oklahoma Politician Wants To Tax Violent Video Games 312

Posted by timothy
from the fourkiller-sounds-violent-and-unhinged dept.
dotarray writes "According to an Oklahoma politician, video games help cause many problems affecting the youth of today, but they can also help solve those same problems. Representative William Fourkiller, a Democrat, has proposed a 1% tax on every video game sold which has a Teen, Mature or Adults Only rating. He explains that half of the money would go towards helping to get kids playing outside, while the other half would be placed into a bullying prevention fund."
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Oklahoma Politician Wants To Tax Violent Video Games

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  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:25PM (#38906053)

    I'm sure throwing money at something will both convince kids to play outside and prevent bullying. Gee, where can I contribute to the "bullying prevention fund?"

    "For the children" is one of the basest forms of emotional appeal. The emotional satisfaction justifies it in many people's minds, and to argue against it makes one vulnerable to accusations of not caring about kids.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:27PM (#38906093)

    Look its "for the children"(TM) , we must comply.

  • by future assassin (639396) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:28PM (#38906113) Homepage

    Tax all kids in school at 1% of their lunch money and use that money to fight bullying in schools. Can we also get a 1% tax on violent blockbusters and tv shows where half off that goes to the movie studios and half goes to violence prevention?

  • M and AO? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordNimon (85072) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:30PM (#38906153)

    Does he not realize that M and AO games are not supposed to be played by children in the first place?

  • Great idea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:30PM (#38906155)

    So when those kids go outside and get bullied, there will be a support program for them. -sigh-

    The best way to teach out kids that bullying is bad is to stop doing it ourselves, and to teach them it's not okay to pick on others for any reason. Mine taught me, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." For me, it stuck. For others, it apparently didn't, or they weren't taught it. Am I perfect at it? No. But I try.

    But a government program to teach it? No way. It'll never work. It has to be something every citizen wants, not something that the government tries to force us into. Actually wants, not just says they want.

    I'm not against providing nice, safe outdoor play areas for kids. Hopefully away from my apartment windows and doors. I would have loved to have it as a kid, and I'd love to have them away from my apartment now. But attacking an industry to do so is not the way to go about it.

  • Ignorance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RazzleFrog (537054) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:32PM (#38906177)

    Amazing that I read this just after reading an article about several suicides in a small town in Michigan. It seems the anti-homosexual leadership in the community and school district basically ignored charges of bullying by students.

    Funny how I don't remember a computer game that teaches kids how to be hateful bigots. Pretty sure they got that from their parents and their church.

  • Re:Bright ideas (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DickBreath (207180) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:32PM (#38906203) Homepage
    > More bright ideas from you local politician.. Do they all have their head in the sand?

    Yes, but that's not "sand" where they have their head. :-)
  • by kawabago (551139) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:34PM (#38906235)
    Hundreds of millions of dollars are given to politicians every year so they can lie to us about the mess they are making of everything. If half the money given to politicians was given to the poor it could make a significant difference both in the lives of the poor and it would half the bullshit we have to listen to!
  • by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:35PM (#38906271)
    So, he wants to raise the price of an activity that many kids use to avoid being bullied to stop bullying?????
  • by russotto (537200) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:38PM (#38906321) Journal

    If video game content is protected by the First Amendment (and current law indicates it is), then a 1% tax based on contents is just as impermissible as a 10000% tax or a straight-up ban.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:46PM (#38906443)

    Cities all over the country have "thrown" money into free, supervised, municipal skate parks that just happened to be outside. The kids didn't need convincing.

  • by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:47PM (#38906465)

    Bullying is not something that can be solved by just money. Give the schools/teachers enough rights to be able to deal with the problematic children, expect them to do so and hold them responsible when they don't.

  • by MrLizard (95131) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:50PM (#38906499)

    ...due to a sporting event.

    In the United States, sporting events are often associated with violent riots, as well, though with lower death tolls. Europe is well known for its soccer hooligans.

    Ever hear of 80 people being killed following a LAN event? Any riots at GenCon or E3?

    Didn't think so.

    If this guy was sincere, he'd be proposing a 1% tax on sports equipment, sales of licensed sports franchise clothing, etc, and using the money to fund children's hospitals which treat the many crippling (and sometimes fatal) injuries that occur from childhood sports. (Check out the average number of high school students killed in school shootings each year, and the average number of high school students killed in school sports.)

    Of course, he's not sincere. "Sincerity" is an alien concept to such as he. He's a vile, contemptible, parasitic piece of verminous scum who exploits fear and ignorance in order to gain power. He is a creature without any personal worth, a loathsome leech who feeds off the misery and pain of others, and grows fat and happy on their suffering. Or, in other words, a politician. Even among that repugnant crew of amoral reprobates, though, people like Fourkiller represent the scrapings of the bottom of a barrel that is, itself, filled with the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel.

  • Re:Oklahoma (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @02:54PM (#38906563)
    Democrats are equivalent to Republicans everywhere, and have been for a long time now.
  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @03:18PM (#38906975)

    No, he's another lunatic who thinks that taxing speech doesn't violate the 1st amendment.

  • Re:Oklahoma (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @03:45PM (#38907431)
    A politician is a politician. If you're using the terms democrat and republican, then they've already tricked you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @03:54PM (#38907563)

    Bullying is not something that can be solved by just money. Make PARENTS deal with the problematic children (want your child in school,then you need to be sitting beside him until he behaves), expect them to do so and hold them responsible for their children's actions when they don't.
    A child beats on another child, charge the parent and the child with assault.
    Make parents pay for the other child's therapy bill, and the other child MUST go to therapy after being bullied mandatory.
    It's time for PARENTS to stop blaming everyone else for why Johnny is bad.

  • by Nadaka (224565) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:02PM (#38907669)

    I was bullied in elementary school because I was a bookish nerd, but I mostly ignored it. Then I found them trying to stomping my little sister to death. I chased them off, caught two of them and beat them with a padlocked chain until I got tired of the screaming. The other 3 ran faster than I did. Neither of us ever had to deal with bullies again. Like it or not, fear and pain are the only things those animals understand.

    The reason violence didn't stop your bully is that you didn't use enough of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:29PM (#38908071)
    I think the question would be whether the tax targets the material for the speech contained or if it targets it as a good. So all games, books, and movies are taxed, but would you, say, only tax movies dealing with unpopular opinions? Then it can be construed as violating the first amendment as this clearly does.
  • by Tmann72 (2473512) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:30PM (#38908095)
    Sales tax is applied uniformly across all products sold whereas this is a tax on a specific product. Taxing any item sold regardless of the item doesn't have a chilling effect on consumers buying the product, but a targeted tax on the sales of a specific item is designed with that exact purpose in mind. Think cigarette taxes as an example.
  • by BitterOak (537666) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:31PM (#38908107)

    Does a state sales tax on books likewise violate the First Amendment as applied to the several states by the Fourteenth? If so, then how do so many states get away with requiring Barnes & Noble to collect and remit sales tax? If not, then what's the difference between what this state representative proposes and a sales tax?

    The difference is, this would be a content-based tax on something that has been found to be protected speech. A uniform sales tax on all goods is not a violation of the First Amendment, but if books supporting one particular political party or putting forth one particular opinion were taxed at a different rate than books putting forward the opposite position, then the tax would almost certainly run afoul of the First Amendment. This is a tax that applies only to video games, not other forms of expression, and furthermore applies only to those games with a teen or mature rating, which is closely related to the content of those games.

  • Rule No. 99 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by logical_failure (2405644) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:34PM (#38908163) Journal
    If X exists, there are Democrats who wish to tax X.

    It's a corollary to the porn rule that if X exists there is porn of X on the Internet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:46PM (#38908313)

    The problem with this idea of course, is that it will be used aggressively by bullies to force their victims into "stop bullying therapy", cost them money, give them criminal records, have their parents dragged into school repeatedly, and get them thrown out of school.

    Most bullies like to spend their time antagonizing their targets subtly - goading them with insults, accidents, ("Why no sir, I definitely didn't knock his lunch into his lap on purpose! It was an accident! No sir, there's no way I would point at him and laugh, I would never do that!") and other petty cruelties, until they can convince their target to take the first shot, preferably in response to that last quiet insult, threat, or subtle poke while nobody's looking, and preferably in front of as many witnesses as possible. And then they not only get to mash their target's face in, they also get to cry to the authorities that "He's a horrible bully who attacked me! Kick him out of school!", and all that the school has on record is a long string of what they regard as false accusations from the target against the real bully, who paints themself as the victim in front of any authority figure they can find.

    Bullies who just outright attack people are extremely rare, and usually limited to the younger levels of grade school, where they haven't learned any subtlety yet - some of them manage to get all of the way to the highschool level, but by then most will have learned methods of picking on the weak that are less obvious through "official" channels.

  • by Moryath (553296) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @04:54PM (#38908435)

    Precisely!

    A tax on all books (in the form of generic, most-products "sales tax") is not invalid because it is nondiscriminatory.

    A tax on all books that had to do with math would be invalid. As would a tax on all books written by right-wing or left-wing pundits.

    The issue is a discriminatory tax intended to impact a product based on the content of speech.

  • by Shajenko42 (627901) on Thursday February 02, 2012 @05:51PM (#38909223)
    That's a chemical substance, not expression. It does not run afoul of the first amendment.

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