Phone Funding for Spanish-American War Finally Ends

As reported many places, this past week Treasury Secretary John Snow finally abolished the excise tax on metered telephone service that was originally put in place at the end of the 1800s to fund the Spanish-American War. As I previously noted, this is just one of many taxes placed on “telecommunications services” that threaten the promise of the power available if mobility were added into every product and every process.

Only alcohol and tobacco are more heavily taxed than telecom services, which might imply that lawmakers hope to break us of our communications habits, but I doubt that Washington wants to give up the $92 billion the wireless industry contributes to the country’s GDP. I spent some time last week with Roger Entner, the author of that study, and he confirmed that last year’s findings are still relevant and on track. The study also estimated that “over the next 10 years, the wireless telecom industry will create an additional 2-3 million new jobs, adding a cumulative additional $450 billion in GDP.” The full study is available here.

Today, on a day that our country sets aside to honor those who have fought to preserve the freedom that we hold so dear, it is only right that those who served us so nobly in the Spanish-American War are no longer burdened with part of the blame for the continued over-taxation of the basic telecom services that provide us with the freedom of mobility!

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