When I wrote an article during the summer about San Francisco's ban on the sale of soft drinks earlier this year, I had assumed that what the City by the Bay had cooked up was about as low as any municipality could possibly sink in terms of instituting anti-business policies.
It turns out that I was wrong. Philadelphia has now officially surpassed San Francisco to become America's most forthright city in championing stupidity as an art form. To what does it owe this dubious honor? Well, a new ordinance recently went into effect there which declares whatever paltry amounts of money its bloggers make from their advertisers which are usually the likes of Google AdSense or other pay-per-click programs, to be analogous to that of the much larger revenues gained by established businesses. In short, any blogger who resides in the City of Brotherly Love and makes even one red cent from his or her website will be forced to purchase an operational license costing $300. Needless to say, this leaves the vast majority of the bloggers in question at a huge deficit as it is extremely rare for the average blog to sell any more than around $20 worth of advertising space in a given year.
The regressive and, ultimately, counterproductive nature of the tax has gained national attention, with Technorati's Alex Priest calling it "outrageous and inexplicable in almost any context," and New York Magazine columnist Nate Freeman even going so far as to suggest that Philadelphia bloggers stop selling advertising on their respective websites so that they may feel the "self-satisfaction of refusing to give the city that hard-earned blog revenue." While I personally would never urge anyone for any reason to cease participating in the free enterprise system, the sad truth is that Freeman's advice is financially sound for those affected by the city of Philadelphia's disgusting shakedown. There is no sense in building even the most miniscule amount of personal wealth only to lose it, and then some, to an unfair and overburdening bureaucracy.