Oklahoma Legislator: Let's Tax "Violent" Video Games

An Oklahoma state representative wants to tax gamers. Introduced by the ironically named William Fourkiller, the bill would impose a 1 percent tax on "violent video games." Half of the revenue raised would go to an anti-obesity fund (the "Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund"), and the other half would go to a bullying prevention fund. Taxing video games to stop childhood obesity and bullying—it's a nanny state trifecta!

In addition to the obvious libertarian outrages (it's a tax hike that could violate the First Amendment!) there are other flaws with the bill (SB 2696). First, it's far too broad:

As used in this section, “violent video game” means a video or computer game that has received a rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board of Teen, Mature or Adult Only.

In other words, Teen-rated games like The Sims, Dance Central, or Guitar Hero would be included in the tax, even though they're non-violent. Brilliant.

Second, Fourkiller claims, “Violent video games contribute to some of our societal problems like obesity and bullying."

That's not actually true. A Michigan State University study tracked almost 500 kids' media habits and weight. Their results:

The team found that while video games were used more than the internet and cellphones, none of these activities predicted a child's weight or BMI. Instead they found that race, age and socioeconomic status were the strongest predictors.

In addition, Fourkiller assumes video games are for kids. But in fact, according to the Entertainment Software Association, the average age of a gamer is 37. So taxing adult gamers to fight childhood obesity is not exactly the most rational course of action.

Meanwhile for minors, the ESA points out, "Parents are present when games are purchased or rented 91 percent of the time." If parents truly objected to video games, then they shouldn't buy them for their kids. Children are the responsibility of their parents, not the state.

Reason on video games. Me on Oklahoma and the nanny state.

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  • Almanian||

    I hope that legislator drops dead. Literally.

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    You hope he drops completely. What does that even mean?

    ("Completely" being the meaning of the adverb "dead". I know, jokes aren't funny when you have to literally explain them.)

  • o3||

    great ideas! fuk gaming reetardz most of whom got teh fatz anyway, dont get good tail if any, & are the dumb fuks who get pounded at recess.

  • ||

    A tax based on the content of something? Isn't there some sort of problem with that? Some law or something?

  • bmp1701||

    Better yet, it appears to take money from avid videogamers and redistribute it to fat bullying victims (aka "avid videogamers").

  • Jeff||

    How about we tax violent names instead, eh, Fourkiller?

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    So taxing adult gamers to fight childhood obesity is not exactly the most rational course of action.

    See, your problem is that you keep assuming would-be nannies like Fourkiller are actually interested in pursuing rational courses of action. Experience strongly indicates otherwise.

  • rather||

    onetime I tried to play Super Mario Kart but when I put the disc in the machine it broke because it was a slice of bologna instead.

  • ||

    I'm civil and nonviolent to the core, but I've killed thousands in gaming. Millions, if you count some of those old nuclear war games.

  • Joe||

    Yeah and those millions you killed could be paying cyber taxes right now, but NO... Thanks for contributing to the deficit!

  • The Dragonborn||

    I've killed dozens of endangered dragons, even though these rare and beautiful creatures are so endangered that many good citizens of Skyrim have never seen them.

  • Joe M||

    Fourkiller claims, “Violent video games contribute to some of our societal problems like obesity and bullying."

    That's not actually true.

    When in the hell has this ever mattered to a statist? Once you claim something is "for the childrun!", it is forever thus, contrary facts be damned.

  • ||

    Now, if he were trying to fund the Childhood Outdoor Revolver Education Fund, I might be a little more sympathetic.

  • ||

    Childhood Outdoor Revolver Education Fund

    Training kids on old wheelguns when all these great semi-autos are out there?

    Why do you hate children?

  • ||

    Why do you hate children?

    Why does anyone even ask this question anymore? The reasons for hating children grow by the number, and by severity, daily.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Nah.

    The reasons for hating those who seek to protect children from every little fucking thing, on the other hand . . .

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Teach them how to be extra focused?

  • ||

    I'd lake to take this opportunity to communicate a message to all of our Steam users in Oklahoma.

    Look you little shits. If you don't get on the phone pronto and give these assholes trying to run your life hell, make that fucking pure hell, then we have no problem with cutting you off from our market. You are not that big of a deal. Who the fuck do you think you are, California? One way or the other, we are not going to pay that Goddamn tax.

    Now, if you do the RIGHT thing, and I'm not going to elaborate what the right thing is exactly, we'll give all users a one time redeemable 25% discount on your next purchase.

  • ||

    does Steam have a physical presence in oklahoma?

  • ||

    Everywhere. That little town that got snowed in? One of the few means of obtaining things from the outside world was through Steam. Shiiit. You can find Ughars using Steam.

  • ||

    I live in Oklahoma and I have never heard of Steam.

  • ||

    I suppose next they'll be banning video games made from aborted foetuses.

  • CE||

    Where's the logic in fighting against taxes on stuff we like? Make it a big part of the government's revenue stream, and you don't have to worry about them banning it.

  • ryan||

    sigh

  • ||

    Name that party! (The AP doesn't--but a quick search confirms what everyone knows...)

  • Name Nomad||

    Picture is inaccurate. In Thief, the goal was to NOT hurt or kill people -- which was often rather difficult!

  • Mensan||

    The team found that while video games were used more than the internet and cellphones, none of these activities predicted a child's weight or BMI. Instead they found that race, age and socioeconomic status were the strongest predictors.

    Well, there's the solution right there. Just tax them for being poor and hispanic or black, and they'll stop being fat.

  • cynical||

    Might as well, it's just as Constitutional as a tax on the content of speech.

  • GILMORE||

    As used in this section, “violent video game” means a video or computer game that has received a rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board of Teen, Mature or Adult Only.

    basically, if its not Teddy Ruxpin's Happy-Time Spelling-Bee, the Man wants a cut.

    this makes sense.

  • Kyle||

    Really a picture of Thief 3? that came out in like 2004 ! Also a great game ...

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