And how about all our nitwit acquaintances who see or hear a joke and send this silly stuff out to 75 of their nearest and dearest friends? Suddenly the jokesters would have to ask themselves: Is this joke so funny that I can afford $1.50 to send it to all my friends?
I send maybe 25 to 50 e-mails a day. I would happily pay a buck a day in taxes to eliminate spam.
But how about businesses that send e-mails by the ton? Obviously taxes would not be levied on inter-office correspondence. Even so, corporations would argue, taxing outgoing e-mails would mean extra expenses that would hurt the bottom line.
OK, let’s look at the flip side. I am on AOL, which has a sophisticated spam-filter system, so I do not get tons of spam. (AOL’s system is almost too good in that it also filters out e-mails I should be getting—but that is a different subject.)
When my wife, Peggy, vice president/group publisher of the Target Marketing Group, comes in from a road trip, she has to spend an hour dealing with more than 500 e-mails in her work in-box, of which maybe 480 are spam. On average, she probably spends an hour a week clearing spam from her in-box. Eliminate spam, and Peggy’s company has gained an extra week of Peggy’s time. That’s big bucks.
Hackers and technogeeks can figure out ways to get around lawsuits against spam. The money isn’t there to enforce those laws. Spammers who got caught would hire high-priced lawyers to appeal the law all the way up to the Supreme Court, which would no doubt strike it down as an abridgment of the First Amendment right of free speech.
With a multibillion-dollar pot of tax money—some to the feds, some to the states and some to the IRS to make damn sure everyone who sent an e-mail paid that 2-cent tax—you could kiss spam good-bye.