Friday, January 18, 2013

Video Games are Now Cigarettes with New Proposed Taxes, Labels and Restrictions

Yeppers.... now the money is drying up from tax revenue of the "evil" cigarettes,  the ever growing government is looking for new funding sources to feed its bureaucratic structure.  The Video Game Industry seems like a logical choice.  They can blame it for school shootings, low test scores of students, and any other anti-social behavior they wish to pin on it.

Look at the possibilities… there are video games about guns, games about driving, games about war, games about almost every subject including politics.  This industry is ripe with opportunities for government intrusion and control. In fact it offers the government more areas to exert itself than cigarettes ever did.

So under what pretense with the government seek to impose these regulations, taxes and restrictions:  If kids are exposed to violent imagery in video games, they will become aggressive children or violent adults later in life. Although unable to muster credible evidence proving this thesis, legislators across America have been introducing measures that would regulate home video games or coin-operated arcade games on these grounds.

But the facts do not support this conclusion. Violent crime, according to the FBI, has been dropping for many years now. During the very period of time video games were on the market and the young minds of mush were being infected. If the assertion were true than there should be not one mass school shooting ever six months but one every other week.  

 In 1994, the video game industry established the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a comprehensive labeling system that rates over 1,000 games per year and has rated more than 8,000 games since inception. The ESRB applies five different rating symbols and over 25 different content labels that refer to violence, sex, language, substance abuse, gambling, humor and other potentially sensitive subject matter. It must be a good system because the self-appointed media violence watchdog Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) called the video game rating system “a model” for other industries to follow.

Government regulation could will surly cross the line into censorship. As legislators threaten industry with fines or prosecution for mislabeling games, voluntary labeling will likely be abandoned altogether. Legislators will seek to punish the industry with high taxes and even more regulations. Of course, if industry responded to such proposals by abandoning voluntary ratings, lawmakers would quickly allege “market failure” and propose a mandatory rating-and-labeling scheme instead. The courts would not allow legislators to regulate books or magazines in this manner, and there is no reason why video games should be any different. But the cost to fight these lawsuits will bankrupt many small companies and deeply eat into the profits of the larger ones. Prices for the product will soar until the market dries up… just like it has in cigarettes.

Parent’s choice will once again be replaced by government intrusion. Mom and Dad will not be the ones to decide what is best for their child. The Big Government Nanny will do it. 

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