Green Party deputy leader Mary White has suggested a one cent tax on text messages, calling it a “relatively painless and fair way of making money in tough times”.
Since a one cent tax is at least a 10% cost increase, and since texts are used more by young people, including schoolchildren, than other sections, it is hard to see how it is either painless of fair. Mary, however, explains it by saying that “people don’t have any regard for ‘brown money'”.
What this means is that, since the 1,2 and 5 cent coins are now largely worthless, they should be given, without complaint, to the Government. Possibly so they can keep themselves in expensive travel (any comment from a Green Party member about Martin Cullen’s helicopter trip to work, Mary? Thought not).
The Irish Times calculates that such a tax would bring in €91 million per year, based on a figure of 25 million text messages sent each day. They got the texts-per-day figure by ringing (or texting, who knows) ComReg. Mary reckons it will bring in €146 million per year. She’s basing this on four million people sending 10 texts per day, every day of the year.
Our population is four million. So she’s expecting ten texts a day from every one of us – babies, the elderly, trappist monks in silent orders, people who don’t own a mobile, people in jail (wait, she’s probably right there), Johnny NoMates’s, and people who just prefer to speak in person rather than text.
The funniest thing about all of this is that the figure of €146 million is “revising her original estimate of €1.4 billion”.
I get the feeling that our Green friend is using a wind-powered calculator while sitting indoors.