Two posts went up this week! First, I wrote about Google again for Doublethink with Google should say au revoir to France:
Yahoo Finance reports that the French government has decided to go after American web giants Google and Amazon for billions of dollars in back taxes. This comes on the heels of a recently released report from the French government that proposed a new tax on data collected from the country’s users.
The moves are part of an effort to alleviate the country’s economic woes. In an effort to raise revenue, French politicians are claiming that American companies are unfairly advantaged in the marketplace because they avoid the high taxes French companies have to pay. However, Money Morning reports that many claim that Google and Amazon are just taking advantage of perfectly legal tax-code loopholes by, for example, setting up shop in European countries with lower taxes such as Ireland.
Either way, raising taxes on profitable companies is a short-term fix. Ultimately the only long-term solution to the France’s fiscal woes is to slash entitlement spending and institute policies that spur economic growth.
Heavily taxing the most innovative and profitable companies operating in your country is not the way to encourage innovation or profit. Nor is creating an environment where companies think they know what their tax burden is, only to find out later that they owe much more than they thought they did. The data collection tax is especially problematic, as it taxes based on how many users companies track, essentially disincentivizing customer acquisition.
Then I covered fat-shaming for Thoughts on Liberty with Libertarians Let Fat-shaming Statists Off the Hook While the Collectivists Win:
For those of you who have been living under a thin-but-not-too-thin rock, there’s a debate raging in the news and blogosphere about thin-privilege, fat-acceptance and public health. One of the latest installments is the Atlantic’s A Case for Shaming Obese People, Tastefully.
The article quotes a “bioethicist” named Daniel Callahan who justifies fat shaming on the grounds that it’s good for them. He claims, with zero evidence, that creating more stigma around being fat can help encourage the overweight to make better food and exercise choices. He then cites shared health care costs as justification for shaming people with costly fat-related illnesses like diabetes, blaming them for being drains on the system.
There are three main reasons why everyone, libertarians in particular, should stand up to this line of thinking. First, fat shaming doesn’t work. Second, the forced collectivism of Obamacare is the problem here, not fat people. Third, fat shaming is at best thinly-veiled victim blaming, and libertarians already have a bad rap on that front.