US Tax Plan Singles Out Makers Of ‘Violent Videogames’

By Nathan Grayson on February 28th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

Games have become a mainstream thing. Nearly everyone plays them, talks about them, and interacts with them in some way on a semi-regular basis. But here at RPS, we have this violence in games tag that occasionally gets use, and not usually for good reasons. While I’m a strong advocate for examination of how exactly we’re affected by cultures that glorify violence, I absolutely do not believe that throwing a singular “bad” blanket over a very nuanced issue helps anyone. And yet, despite gaming’s slow ascent out of the cultural gutters, people still blame it for all of society’s ills from time-to-time. John quite frequently holds people accountable for that fear-mongering mentality, and I personally think that’s important given what can happen when people let it warp their worldview.

Case in point: the US Government’s Republican party is suggesting a tax reform that would give sizable tax breaks to companies who create new technologies and practices in their respective fields. Unless they are creators of “violent videogames.”

The R&D tax credit, as it’s known, would stand to make game development in the US quite a bit more attractive. Similar initiatives have, according to the plan outline, benefited other industries quite nicely. Also, as Kotaku notes, California and Texas already offer incentives for game development on a state basis, and wouldn’t you know it? There are tons of game developers in both places. The proposed (though it should be stressed: not put into action) plan, however, explicitly states the following as one of its goals:

“Preventing makers of violent video games from qualifying for the R&D tax credit.”

Which is all kinds of dangerous territory to tread given that a) no, no, no, a thousands time no, and b) some developers/publishers of so-called “violent videogames” also make non-violent games. Given that this tax credit has so far proven to be rather indiscriminate in its targeting, I worry that nuance may not enter the argument.

There’s also the tricky issue of games qualifying for first amendment – aka, freedom of speech – protection in a specific case involving government regulation of violent videogames. This would essentially function as a way of tip-toeing around that. The government wouldn’t be passing judgment by levying a new tax; it would just be withholding a tax break. Sneaky, sneaky.

Moreover – and this is getting into industry/business-y territory, but I think it’s also cultural – this would actively discourage developers (especially larger ones with more resources) from setting up shop in the US. Why pay what amounts to extra taxes when you can just take your ball and go elsewhere? So nobody wins. Not even the US, which misses out on a potential economic boost.

It’s almost funny too, given that the plan outline specifically states that its goal is to avoid this kind of situation. “The plan also takes steps to keep jobs here in the United States by including strong safeguards that shut down loopholes companies currently use to shift their profits to tax havens. It also removes incentives companies currently have to move their innovation offshore, by provindg a neutral 15-percent tax rate on profits from innovation regardless of whether the manufacturing takes place in the United States or overseas.”

And then, as the Washington Examiner points out, there’s this line which practically writhes with ugly irony:

“The Tax Reform Act of 2014 stops the practice of using the tax code to pick winners and losers based on political power rather than economic merit.”

Uh-huh. Sure. Might want to put an asterisk there, lawmakers. You forgot to write, “…unless games are involved.”

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138 Comments »

  1. Kefren says:

    I suppose the US government will withhold the tax credit from itself? http://www.americasarmy.com/ is a pretty violent game. Y’know, army’s and stuff.

    • Syra says:

      Themselves and you have to consider the crazy tax breaks they give the film industry. Wouldn’t it be ace if they weren’t hypocrites and did this for violent movies and music and other art too?

      And by ace I mean fucking horrible.

      • FenixNoT says:

        Well I guess more studios will just have to set up shop in Canada. By taking away tax breaks from game makers they’re making the US a far less promising place to conduct business, considering Canada’s not that far off.

      • Scratches Beard With Pipe Stem says:

        “Tax incentives” are indistinguishable from government handouts — and he who pays the piper calls the tune. So watch out.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      This tax plan is going nowhere. It’s just theater for the Republicans to signal to their base that they’re being tough and trying to divert attention on violent crime away from their precious guns.

      I don’t think you should waste any time worrying about the effect this law will have.

    • WmTell says:

      Poppycock.
      Flat Tax.
      Anything else oozing from inside the beltway concerning taxes is group think. Besides, Repubicans are useless. The DemoKooks and Repubicans are co dependent upon each other. They are both the same. We may as well have Pat Oreilly Reilly as Supreme Leader. Why the F am I reading politics, outdated tax code, on a gaming site. You people are useless.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    It must be tiring for political pundits to write articles every day that boil down to “a lot of people in the Republican Party are crooks or just criminally insane”.

  3. islisis says:

    if they need a policy in place, how about changing that to “superfluous exploitive violence”?

    • fulcrum89 says:

      Then of course you would need people who decide what qualifies as exploitative and superfluous violence, which would be completely arbitrary. Any violence at all could qualify depending on the person judging the thing. Better to just not try and regulate it at all.

  4. Anthile says:

    “Violent” is an incredibly rubbery term and this really reeks of indirect censorship. Is Super Mario Bros a violent game because you smash the skulls of turtles or is FIFA violent because you knock people over from time to time?
    It’s certainly never going to be legislated in this form but you never know. Electronic old men.

    • bad guy says:

      Yeah; “jump on his head” is what you do in Mario Bros. Shouldn’t be done in RL.

      How can games be violent anyway?
      They are virtual, unlike the US military.

  5. derbefrier says:

    Its not a first amendment violation. Thats a bit of a stretch. Not getting tax breaks is no where near the same thing as government telling you you cant make a violent video game.

    Your going a little to far I think. It wouldn’t stop people from making games because what it means is basically things stay the same. Its not gonna get any worse, but its also not getting any better. It is silly though that goes without saying. These kind of bills are difficult to pass anyway so I wouldnt be too worried. The Dems still control the senate and the POTUS. They dont like passing tax cuts so i think we will be alright.

    • mechabuddha says:

      But money is speech! And tax breaks to some and not to others is an unequal application of speech. And since speech should be free, this is obviously unconstitutional.

    • Bury The Hammer says:

      There’s a fine line though, regarding . Let’s say they give a tax break to newspapers because they’re struggling, but only to newspapers who support a certain political viewpoint. Not sure whether that would be against the first amendment (IANAL), but an incentive to certain political viewpoints directly from the government, which I would consider fairly morally questionable.

      • The Random One says:

        That’s certainly morally questionable, and I’m sure it’d be illegal, but I don’t think it’d be because of the First Amendment.

        • RockinRanger says:

          The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that this would be a First Amendment violation. Arkansas Writers’ Project, Inc. v. Ragland held that the press cannot be taxed differently based on it’s content.

      • Sharza says:

        I ANAL is the worst abbreviation I’ve had to read in a while.

    • RockinRanger says:

      This is absolutely a first amendment issue. Penalizing certain types of speech is absoultely a first amendment violation just the same as the government banning such speech. Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association held that first amendment protections apply to video games. And with Speiser v. Randall The Court ruled that denying tax exemptions based on speech is a constitutional violation.To deny an exemption to claimants who engage in certain forms of speech is in effect to penalize them for such speech. Its deterrent effect is the same as if the State were to fine them for this speech. The appellees are plainly mistaken in their argument that, because a tax exemption is a ‘privilege’ or ‘bounty,’ its denial may not infringe speech.

      Congress could exclude likely exclude video games from an R&D tax break but it can not limit it to certain game makes with content-based restrictions.

      • derbefrier says:

        they are not penalizing. unless doing nothing is considered a penalty.

        • RockinRanger says:

          To deny an exemption to claimants who engage in certain forms of speech is in effect to penalize them for such speech.

          According to The Court in Speiser v. Randall denying a tax exemption for reason that violates First Amendment freedom of speech is the same as penalizing. In this case it would be withheld based on the content of a video game (in this case violence), which The Court ruled was protected by the first amendment when striking down a California law that barred sale of violent video games to children in 2011.

          As long as the law provides tax breaks to those who make video games it would likely be a first amendment violation to pick and chose who can receive that tax break based on the content of the game.

  6. Meat Circus says:

    Violent videogames, or “videogames” to give them their non-tautologous name.

  7. rikvanoostende says:

    Frank Underwood won’t support it, so don’t worry.

  8. varangian says:

    To a US Republican politicians it all probably makes sense. They don’t play games, and more importantly their ageing base doesn’t, so singling games out for censure is easy. They do watch Fox News, so all their scaremongering about Muslims, gays, blacks, healthcare and the eternal war on everything held sacred in the US (at least by Republicans) can’t be harmful. They need US TV to promote their aims so the stellar murder count on any given night of US TV watching can’t be harmful either. And they love guns and guns, as everyone knows, never killed anyone. And nor do the bullets. Must be the games then.

    • Jesse L says:

      Not sure how many small games studios start up by asking themselves, ‘Hey, which country should we set ourselves up in and be culturally influenced by?”

  9. Bull0 says:

    Speaking as a non-american gamer I’d be perfectly happy for studios to be dissuaded from setting up shop in the USA. Plenty out there already. Bit of diversity can only be a good thing for the medium and spreading the wealth and opportunities is also a good thing.

    • khomotso says:

      Speaking as an American gamer, if the US loses out to other host nations who come up with better tax incentives for game makers, then they deserve to. I figure I’ll still get my good games, violent or otherwise, my money will just go toward creating jobs overseas. Peace to the World.

    • Nogo says:

      Speaking as an american developer, uh… no. Do you think people like me are just gonna move country? No, we’re just discouraged from making the best games we can which hurts everyone who likes games.

      Videogame development isn’t zero sum. This isn’t a competition. Any incentive to make more and better games is good for all gamers.

      • dethtoll says:

        Right on. I don’t know what’s worse, a fucked up tax plan like this (thank you so much GOP — AGAIN) or RPS commenters sounding like villains from Atlas Shrugged. Jesus.

  10. LaKriz says:

    The proposal comes from the same party who thinks that every American should carry a weapon … go figure.

    • ramirezfm says:

      Hey real life violence is ok, it’s the virtual violence you should be worried about! Oh… wait…

      • Evil Pancakes says:

        Think of the children!
        All these violent video games will prevent them from learning how to handle real guns. They could hurt themselves from the recoil when they fire their first gun. And then the guy they are trying to shoot might get away and press charges for attempted murder. Only if you kill them can you claim stand your ground you know. So they will go to jail and never be able to get a decent job afterwards so they become homeless drug addicts.
        All because of violent video games.

    • MacGuffin says:

      It’s not a coincidence, gun-lobby groups in the US have recently been pushing the idea that video games and not guns are responsible for shootings. Seriously.

  11. Horg says:

    The 3 most likely outcomes:

    1) This is simply pre-election grandstanding that will be forgotten about
    2) This is designed to encourage the games industry to lobby (i.e. bribe) against it and it will be forgotten about
    3) This is passed into law and promptly forgotten about, as the profit margin for catering to the ”violent” games market is greater than the potential tax savings

    • Syra says:

      4) The incidence of the taxation or lack of subsidy is passed onto the consumer by unscrupulous publishers.

      Seems more likely.

  12. Jumwa says:

    I’m all aboard challenging the media and politicians for blaming violent video games for acts of personal violence, however I can’t say I give a crap about giving tax breaks to makers of violent games. The government is totally within it’s legal and moral rights I believe to charge them taxes the same as everyone else, and incentivize less violent media if it wishes.

    The games industry is choked with violent video games, if anything maybe this will prod developers to stop lazily relying on the same exact violent gameplay it’s fallen back on for decades. And maybe even result in a few less jingoistic military shooters, both of which I am all in favour of.

    Once again however, I shall shed no tears over a lack of tax breaks for companies.

    • Jesse L says:

      I bet ‘Broforce’ falls under their ‘violent video games’ standard. I bet they could use a tax break. There are lots of games Republicans might consider ‘violent’ that don’t fall into the category of what you’re describing here.

      • Jumwa says:

        I’m sure it would, and it’s not a particularly well-worded thing judging by the sounds of it. I’m not defending this particular piece of legislation, just the notion in general. Like how I’m an adamant supporter of universal healthcare, but find America’s approach to it to be utterly absurd and wasteful.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I would like to know why “violence” has been excluded though – who came up with the caveat and what was going through their heads?

          Here’s the ideas I can think of:

          1) We don’t want people playing violent games because reasons we just know are true, whatever those pesky boffins say.

          2) If we seem like we’re giving a massive tax break only to not actually give that much of a break, we will look like we are supporting the industry and not actually giving it that much support.

  13. Syra says:

    I know this is controversial but I am almost weirdly in favour of this, not for any reasons of violence or politics, but because I honestly believe we can do more interesting things and find more captivating forms of interaction than waving guns in each others’ faces. Game makers could y’know, have a think.

    • Morlock says:

      I also don’t see the scandal in this. These regulations are about supporting certain industries and therefore trying to shape a society. You still have all the freedom to create your violent game, but if you do, you get less government support. I like violent games – I had a blast with Hotline Miami – but I do think that in the current gaming landscape, the daring (and risky) thing can be to create something that is not violent. I don’t mind the government supporting those that take this risk.

      Now I am aware that my cheering for this initiative may have nothing to do with the intentions behind it, which are likely to be cynical and/or stupid. Still, the resulting support system can be fine IMO.

      • The Random One says:

        I agree with the two of you. It’s a bit damning that it singles out makers rather than particular games – so for instance if Jim’s dev house Big Robot was in the US, and Sir You Are Being Hunted was considered violent, they would be skipped, even though most of their output consists of pedagogical games for children. But overall, regardless of what bigoted ideas the bill’s creator may or may not have, its result would benefit devs who created non-violent games, and would be more likely to benefit independent devs than big publishers.

        • Jesse L says:

          Do you guys like ‘Amnesia’? I’m sure that’s a ‘violent’ video game.

          • The Random One says:

            I do like Amnesia. I also like watching movies, talking to my friends over IM, visiting the mall, posting on RPS, long walks on the beach, daydreaming and masturbating; I don’t think any of those should qualify one for tax breaks either.

          • Syra says:

            I am pro tax breaks for masturbating.

          • The Random One says:

            It only sounds good until you realize you need to keep receipts.

    • rikvanoostende says:

      Even in Mario and Pacman, lives are lost. How would they define a ‘violent’ videogame. Will it just be Sims 3 and Sports Games from now on? Did EA get into politics or something?

      • Koozer says:

        Sims can have arguments and get into fights. Do sliding tackles count as violence? Nothing can escape the rebateocolypse!

    • Philomelle says:

      You’re running on the assumption that games with guns will be the only ones to fall under this. The issue is that “violent games” is a very subjective descriptor. While some games (first-person shooters, for example) are undeniably violent, others (like RPGs and stealth games where killing others is an option but not a necessity, or horror games where violence is a story element and not a gameplay mechanic) can be described as violent despite not requiring the player to engage in violence.

      It’s a problem because a law is driven by a subjective statement with a meaning that can be adjusted at any given moment, depending on the circumstances and the judge’s personal opinions.

      • The Random One says:

        “The word ‘violent’ is not sufficiently descriptive” is a different argument than “taxation shouldn’t depend on violent content”, though. I agree with the first statement but not the second. I’d also argue that even your examples are violent – I’d think of a non-violent game as something like Kentucky Route Zero.

        I don’t think its meaning can came conveniently, either. If a dev argues that the game they made isn’t violent and he should get the tax break he could go to court over it; the judge will decide then, but whatever precedent is set then will likely last for good. (I also think depending on a judge’s ideas is better than depending on a senator’s. There are loonies on both jobs, but at least judges have to have studied law.)

    • FriendlyFire says:

      I also fully support this, but for a different reason: there’s a high probability a lot of game developers would invest more into studios in Canada, which means I wouldn’t have to deal with the ridiculousness that the US has become to work there.

      Excellent!

    • Frank says:

      Nah, tax breaks are just a way of giving money to the big incumbents who can afford to spend a ton having someone else file for them. Activision would find a loophole for its Cod, while small outfits wouldn’t have the money to hire accountants/whomever to prove they are eligible in a way that would satisfy the IRS. Down with this.

  14. Tony M says:

    US government policy is ridiculous. In the UK they have sensible policies, like measuring a games “Britishness”. http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/10/02/uk-tax-breaks-for-culturally-british-games-only/

    • Anthile says:

      That explains so much about Sir, You Are Being Hunted.

    • zachforrest says:

      fairly sure that went out to consultation and then was forgotten about.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Did any of you read those in detail? You would have scored the same points for setting your game in ANY European country, as you would for setting it in the UK. Thus a game about designing the sewage system in a small German town scores the same points for setting as a game set in an English country garden. Moreover, setting it in an “undetermined location” is also acceptably British. Same rules apply for characters.

      Two men from Spain stranded on an alien world in another dimension? That’s British!

      Half the dialogue is in French? Ok, 2 out of 4 points for language.

      Programming was all done in China by Indians? Nevermind as long as someone in the UK came up with the idea you still score big for Britishness in production.

      It was amusing at the time to see all the knee-jerk reactions from people who didn’t bother reading the actual document.

      http://www.develop-online.net/news/revealed-the-uk-video-games-cultural-test/0113605

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        “if there are more than three characters depicted in the video game, 4 points if two or three of the three lead characters are from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location or, if only one of the three lead characters is from the United Kingdom or another EEA state or from an undetermined location”

        Translation: Having a British cast means having a cast from anywhere, as long as the ones who aren’t obviously from Europe never identify where they’re actually from :)

        The whole “Culturally British” thing was a smokescreen to make it appear to the rest of the EU that we had some sort of justification for the tax breaks beyond simply trying to give the UK an advantage over other EU members. The whole test is carefully designed so that it doesn’t actually interfere with creativity in any practical way.

        • TeeJay says:

          “…The whole “Culturally British” thing was a smokescreen to make it appear to the rest of the EU that we had some sort of justification for the tax breaks beyond simply trying to give the UK an advantage over other EU members…”

          What reasons do the French give for the tax relief they give to their games industry?

          • zachforrest says:

            possibly dreamt up pre single market? Countries don’t always have to change things to comply with EU policy, just not allowed create new things that infract

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Basically the same actually but with the French it’s taken a little more seriously since they have had a much stronger case to argue for the need to protect their language and culture from erosion. The chief argument against the UK’s case is that the UK games industry is neither under threat nor in decline in comparison with the rest of Europe.

            Two other things differ about the French scheme, firstly it doesn’t apply to big budget games (there’s a cap at €150,000 – that’s not going to attract too many AAA studios) and secondly they just went ahead and introduced the scheme without asking the EU’s permission. The EU only carried out an investigation in France after the fact, and agreed to let it carry on.

  15. AngoraFish says:

    Why pay what amounts to extra taxes when you can just take your ball and go elsewhere?

    It’s not extra tax, it’s a proposed reduction in the already (by first world standards) extremely low taxes and even then only as a rebate against research and development costs (ie not production, development and marketing costs).

    Producing games is not R&D. R&D is a speculative long-term investment with a high risk of failure and, even if successful, unlikely to be profitable for some time.

    What R&D investment, exactly, is going to be made by violent video games developers anyhow… better virtual blood effects, perhaps?

    Article is beat-up.

    • Morlock says:

      “Article is beat-up.”

      No tax reduction for you.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      You do realize Epic does a lot of research when they develop Unreal Engine, right? Same thing for Crytek with CryEngine or DICE and Frostbite. That tax plan basically tells them “Don’t come here, we don’t want you.”

      Which is fine by me, means the extremely important field of parallelization research and graphics research is going to go elsewhere.

    • TimorousBeastie says:

      A significant part of any game development is pre-production. It includes making and testing prototype systems, art styles and storylines, often throwing away each thing two or three times before finalising. It’s expensive as hell, but necessary. That doesn’t count as R&D?

      • Philomelle says:

        Pretty much this. There are very rare cases when the project’s narrative direction and art style come together early, but usually you spend anywhere between one and four months trying to finalize the basics. In that time, you have to consider the technology you work with, as well as study other games of the same genre so you have a better grasp of how they do things; it helps your team reach some clarity of vision and choose your own direction. Only then, do you start working on the project.

        As for how many prototypes one can burn through, here’s a bit of personal experience. I’ve been working as a narrative and gameplay designer on a game that’s been in pre-production since December. I have burned through six separate main character designs and story concepts before deciding on one, after which I burned through four separate mechanical drafts (which is to say, what your character can do aside of basic controls). It is only this Wednesday, three months after we decided to make this project, that we reached the point where I can finalize the character design document and move on to world-building while the programmer works on a prototype.

        That’s for a relatively small 2D action game. You can guess how much fun people have with bigger, more elaborate projects.

    • Sharlie Shaplin says:

      If there was no R+D in video games, we would still be playing games with ASCII art…

    • Shuck says:

      Yeah, this is an alteration of an existing tax break. Video games are in a sweet spot in terms of tax breaks in the US, as they benefit from tech-related credits such as the R&D credit, as well as entertainment related breaks, as well as a few things that are fairly specific to them. The result is a company like EA, with billions in revenue, pays less than $100 million in taxes.
      I’m not sure that California offers much that isn’t offered by other states (although some cities have waived some costs) – the industry has traditionally located here because a) there are a lot of universities here, and b) the tech industry is here, so you have a pool of programmers (and to a lesser degree you also have CG artist overlap with the film industry). So tax breaks aren’t everything.

  16. Gothnak says:

    Now: Many Violent and Non Violent Games get made in the US without Tax Breaks.

    In The Future: The Same Number of Violent Games get made in the US without Tax Breaks, More Non Violent Games get made in the US due to Tax Breaks.

    This is good for Non Violent Games and the same for Violent Games… Overall, this is good for Games.

    Discuss..

  17. Ninja Dodo says:

    American politics would be entertaining to watch if it wasn’t happening to actual people.

  18. the Abrahammer says:

    Just have to jump in. My job involves the Hill, so I’ve a decent track record of predicting these things and I can assure you that this bill’s chances of becoming law are next to zero. So far the only real proponent of the bill is its author, Rep. Camp (R-MI) with even his own party leadership declining to support the bill, and some of his party openly opposed. Even if the bill passed the House it would be dead on arrival in the Senate for other reasons.

    Now, sometimes provisions like this get resurrected and added on to another bill. But, unless it also shows up in the President’s budget request next Tuesday, which would suggest Democratic support for the idea, I wouldn’t worry.

  19. Lemming says:

    People will just continue to set up game companies over the border in Canada then. Their gain is the US’s loss.

  20. Sn00pY224 says:

    well, as a strong advocate for gaming.
    some games Deserve the tag of extreme violence and such.

    i played ALOT of games, and some games. where they show gibs and go OVERboard
    with the death of other plays and such. just is Excessive.. at best.
    i can not understand why gaming companys work on the Gore factor and neglect the
    story line and such.

    i in all honesty prefer a good and balanced game over the most violent and bloody game they can make.

    so if they decide to tax them as a way to maybe slow down / reduce the amount of gore games beeing released.

    i am all for it.

    i mean seriously go back to making proper games with great story lines and entice you.
    just look at runescape.com its a little java game, but it got millions of players with out any gore.
    just because the story is awesome and continues all the time.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      You don’t understand. The problem’s that every single one of these “but some games do deserve to be banned!” have the same problem: where do you draw the line? This isn’t something that can be objectively, absolutely measured. It’d be decided by a bunch of suits in a random governmental body who have the ultimate judge, jury and executioner ability. It’d get twisted from its original purpose almost instantly.

      That game features gays, it’s violent to me! That game features sex, it’s violent to me! It’s exactly what’s happening in the UK, where the internet filter is having some dangerous slip-ups.

  21. otto_ says:

    How is there anything wrong with what the US Government is doing? All they do is promote non-violent games there’s nothing wrong with that.

    I guess if the government only gave a tax relief to studios which produce non-misogynistic games RPS would praise the US to the moon and back.

    Reliefs are there to promote products which the market lacks and there is certainly no lack of violent games.

  22. programmdude says:

    The US government couldn’t offer no taxes and free money to lure me into that country. Plus non violent video games is rather ambiguous. Spaceships blowing up, is that violent? What about games like portal, sure there is no direct violence, but the last boss could be considered violent, plus you being shot to death by turrets.
    The idea in itself is rather good. Sure most companies won’t get it, but those who do will like paying less taxes. So long as they don’t raise the taxes overall to compensate for the tax breaks.

  23. Tei says:

    “Job creators”. These are people that buy products. Demand make companies grown.

  24. Ein0r says:

    So what? Nothing will change when this goes through, except for increased prices on “violent games”.

  25. chris1479 says:

    Since the authors of RPS are all avowed statists who think the government is the answer to virtually everything whether it’s sweaty polar bears or tax dodging I say, you voted for it, don’t complain.

    • triclops41 says:

      Exactly. It’s hilarious and sad that they suddenly have all these libertarian arguments against this bill when it’s something they care about.
      They must be in the pocket of Big Video Games!

      Cognitive Dissonance, thy name is RPS.

    • pepperfez says:

      That’s silly. It’s perfectly reasonable to want the state to do good things and not do dumb things. The only people who really disagree are already convinced government never does good things.

      • triclops41 says:

        Sometimes yes, others, no.
        But that is missing my point. The arguments used to oppose this are libertarian; acknowledging the coercive behavior of picking winners and losers through tax breaks as not qualitatively different from other forms of coercion, arguing about unintended consequences and their potential destruction of job growth.
        Those arguments are from the freedom vs coercion perspective libertarians use, not the equality/social justice perspectives that liberal statists use.
        Very same arguments that they disagree with when adopted to everything else.

  26. Wytefang says:

    Those evil Republicans! How dare they!

  27. GROM says:

    Well these are the same people that believe in intelligent design, think more guns creates more safety and that homosexuality is a choice that is infectious to straight people. are we really that surprised?

  28. Sacarathe says:

    I wonder how they define violent… zombies, dragons and magic dont count right?

  29. NiftyHat says:

    If this was for games that had no cultural, historical or educational value. I could totally get behind it. It would totally be an incentive games company to -add- those kinds of values in order to qualify for tax credits and work work better than the blunt instrument of ‘violent’ games, which can occasionally encompass things that aren’t just entertainment.

  30. reggiep says:

    There are a lot of things wrong with this bill. The term “Job Creators” for one, which is Republican rhetoric for their wealthy base. Wealthy people don’t create jobs. Demand creates jobs. When the average Joe has money to spend in the marketplace, it creates demands for goods and services. For business to meet that demand, they need to hire more workers. More money in the hands of the people that tend to spend it (i.e. poor and middle class people) means more jobs. More money in the hands of the people that hoard it in offshore tax havens (i.e. wealthy people) does nothing for the vast majority of working people.

    Republicans like to frame it like wealthy people are out starting businesses to create jobs when really it’s only about creating more wealth for themselves. The vast majority of wealthy business owners will slash jobs if it means saving themselves from having to take a pay cut.

    • triclops41 says:

      Demand doesn’t magically turn into jobs. That’s what people who hear the butchered version of Keynesianism on their favorite partisan media outlet think.
      Demand has to be recognized by people, some rich, some not, before that demand can be satisfied by the right kind of production. Job creators come from all walks of life, but because they have more resources as well as financial security, it is easier for wealthier job creators to be successful.
      Job creators really do exist. I don’t get the contempt.

  31. SuicideKing says:

    More sex in games, then?

  32. obvioustroll says:

    OMG, they’re not going to start taxing tits, too?

  33. Matt_W says:

    This bill is a proposal from a particular Republican law-maker, not from the whole party. It was DOA even before the details of it were released. It does not and has never had a ghost of a chance of becoming law. It got newsprint only because the actual story is something like “Republican lawmaker has ideas.” It’s a little bit of overreach to indict an entire country’s political system based on the wishful thinking of one member of one of its political parties. It’s pretty clear that the US government ain’t gonna put restrictions (or withhold incentives) based on violent content in media. (See, for instance, this Supreme Court ruling: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/10pdf/08-1448.pdf). We aren’t Australia or Germany or South Korea or Brazil or, etc etc.

  34. Foosnark says:

    “The US Government’s Republican party” is such an odd phrase to me. The Republican party is to the US government as bovine spongiform encephalopathy is to a cow, but I suppose it is technically part or property of the cow.

  35. rcguitarist says:

    Is there a petition against this somewhere?

  36. triclops41 says:

    The title of this article could be much more informative. Anti Republican Clickbait Article is far more descriptive considering the possibility that this goes anywhere, even with other Republicans, is 0. Considering the reaction of the posters, and the strangeness of a RPS author using libertarian arguments against the time honored practice of Statists using government to pick winners and losers, it’s hard to see it as anything more than clickbait hatefest.

    • Frank says:

      Yup. The headline makes this sound more mainstream than it is. By the way, is a “statist” short for what we Americans might almost call a “welfare statist”?

      • triclops41 says:

        The two terms do overlap, but Statism is more broad.

        Statism is basically seeing highly centralized planning as the first/only solution to any perceived problem.

        • Yglorba says:

          So it’s basically an imaginary strawman with no actual supporters in the real world, you’re saying?

          It feels like you say “first / only”, but then eagerly try to apply the label to anyone who wants to use a democratic government as the solution to anything at all.

  37. Delak says:

    I have just a couple of corrections in your story:
    First: It is not just Republicans that put out the Tax Reform Act of 2014. It was published by the House Ways and Means Committee, this Committee is made up of both Republicans and Demarcates. Yes the Chairman of the Committee is a Republican. Also the Tax Reform Act of 2014 is a Bipartisan creation not just a Republican creation.
    Second: The Reform does not target specifically video games, it targets ALL Computer Software. By striking out certain parts of the Credit for Computer Software.

    Lastly the provision to prevent computer software from the R&D tax credit may NOT be a Republican provision. I am looking into that piece now.

    • triclops41 says:

      It is well known that only evil Republicans like Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Joe Lieberman seek to censor video games

      • Delak says:

        @triclops41 Come on please don’t lump those three in the Republican party…. next you will say Harry Reid and Nancy “we have to pass it, to see what’s in it” Pelosi are Republican.

  38. Delak says:

    Lets also not forget these words from the US Vice President: Joe Biden Sees ‘No Legal Reason’ Why We Can’t Tax Violent Video Games. http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/05/14/joe-biden-sees-no-legal-reason-why-we-cant-tax-violent-video-games/

    Then ask yourself and do a little research on who has spoken out more for increasing taxes in general but specifically “Violent Video Games”….

  39. potat0man says:

    Thank god the government is going to subsidize companies that innovate. Otherwise there would be no incentive to invent new technology.

  40. waltC says:

    I just skimmed the whole thing and didn’t see the “violent video games” line anywhere…Maybe it is in there somewhere…but if so, that sure is a skimpy line out of all those thousands of words…;) Perhaps the Republicans who drafted the plan threw in that line (if it is there at all) to please their Democratic colleagues–because otherwise the plan has no hope–Democrats will kill anything that threatens their fantasies of the power they wield.

    Also, as to this being a “Republican” plan, how about this quote:

    “To lower tax rates, our plan closes loopholes and cuts the size of the code by 25 percent,
    making it simpler, fairer, and more effective and efficient. This includes a range of provisions, including
    some that have been advanced by Democrats and Republicans alike.”

    I also was surprised that anyone took Kokatu seriously about anything, these days…;) What a sensationalist group–75 years ago they’d have been labeled “Yellow Journalists” (synonym for “Tabloid” today–has nothing to do with anyone’s purported skin color, either, lol.) The bill is basically simply a plan to get the US economic engines firing again on all cylinders. In the US, most Democrats are of the “tax & spend” philosophy; most Republicans are of the “Tax less and let the people spend their own money” philosophy. It’s a struggle to gain control of people’s pocketbooks: it’s those in government who haven’t earned the money themselves who want to take it from those who earn it versus those who earn the money by the sweat of their brows who want to keep more of it. Thus has it always been in my lifetime.

    Why did Obama win in the US? Because people believed in a free lunch and thought he was going to give away everything and we could all quit work and just spend the money the government would put in our mailboxes. Now that Obama has a solid number of years of proving those people wrong, lol, it remains to be seen whether the majority of the American voters are prepared to listen to this drivel yet again.

  41. MadMonkey says:

    That sounds awfully left wing.

  42. headless97 says:

    I would like to quote the great science fiction author Isaac Asimov:

    “Even as a youngster, though, I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance. To me, it always seemed that the solution had to be wisdom. You did not refuse to look at danger, rather you learned how to handle it safely.

    “After all, this has been the human challenge since a certain group of primates became human in the first place. Any technological advance can be dangerous. Fire was dangerous from the start, and so (even more so) was speech–and both are still dangerous to this day–but human beings would not be human without them.”

  43. MonolithicTentacledAbomination says:

    It would be Republicans suggesting tax breaks for corporations, wouldn’t it?

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