FTC Proposes Consumer Electronics Tax



In response to the dwindling revenues and subscriptions to print and paper-based news media over the past decade, the Federal Trade Commission has suggested placing a 5% tax on consumer electronics in order to provide support to these organizations.  This suggestion is part of a larger push by the FTC to provide support for the “reinvention of journalism”.  If it is ever passed, the suggested 5% tax would apply to electronics such as PCs, laptops, game systems and iPads, among other devices. 

Although many newspapers have recouped some of their lost revenue through online advertising, the FTC suggests that this income is not sufficient to take the place of the print advertising proceeds newspapers became accustomed to in the 20th century.  The proposed solution to save print media – government funding in the form of up to $35 billion in annual subsidies.  This funding, of course, would ultimately come from US citizens, thus the suggestion for a 5% consumer electronics tax.  The FTC argues that the $35 billion annual allocation to news media is comparable to the commitment the government made in the early 1800’s to subsidize journalism.  The general consensus is that assisting the newspapers and other forms of journalism is for the greater good. 

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