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Saturday, February 28, 2009

How much do all those unconstitutional video game laws cost, anyway?

Around the USA, umpty states (it must be about a dozen now) have passed gaming bills that seek to impose fines for minors purchasing mature-rated video games and computer games. Every single one of these has been found to be unconstitutional, yet what is functionally the same bill keeps popping up in US state legislatures.

If you're a US taxpayer, and your state hasn't yet tried one of these - or is going around again, you may wish to speak with your congressman about this:

  • Each of these bills is expensive to pass. If they're being really cheap and lazy and just copying a bill that was already struck down on constitutional grounds, that costs around US$50,000 from State taxes. If the bill isn't passed, you're looking at maybe half of that just for the attempt.
  • If they're actually coming up with a modification or a new bill, you're looking at about US$250,000 from State taxes.
  • When the bill is inevitably overturned for the simple reason that it violates the US Bill of Rights, it'll cost State taxpayers another US$250,000 or so, if the State decides to appeal.

So, everyone involved in passing the bills knows the bills cannot stand. If they don't, then you might want to find yourself another representative next time the elections roll around.

But if everyone knows - why spend all this money and fuss on them? Well, votes, really. This is all about public image. The whole thing is supposed to show that they care about your kids. If some of that money was going to potholes or schoolbooks or park maintenance, I might believe it, but no -- it's being burned, pretty much.

Be sure to tell your representative how you expect her to vote when it comes to your taxpayer money on the line here. A half a million or so buys a lot of schoolbooks, and fills a lot of potholes. You might think that the money was rather better spent than on vain posturing about video games.

As for any talk about red states or blue states or political affiliations... I don't really care. And neither should you, if your representatives aren't... you know... representing your state and community's best interests -- regardless of which party they are a member of -- then they're not really doing the job now, are they?

3 comments:

  1. This sort of thing has been bothering me for a long time. Local or state governments pass a law, an actually knowing that this law is not legal under the Federal laws.

    What is so irritating, is that public money is spent on these political games, and we pay for it, and these people are able to get away with it.

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  2. "But, but, think of the chil'un!"

    That one phrase causes more annoyance while gathering more sympathy. A video game law is like a proposed DOMA law, there are a lot of good reasons to laugh both down but they get kneejerk reactions from people who do not think things through.

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  3. They do the same thing with teaching evolution in the schools, cutting off sex ed funding. Then again, government schools, government policy. But telling people what games their kids can play, utter fascism....

    "It's For The Children" is one of the top four good intentions with which the road to hell is paved.

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