Republicans Train Their Gaze on Strippers

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Honest to god, If it wasn't bad enough having to think of Jim Gotto and Jack Johnson writing legislation pertaining to child pubes, here come Joe Carr and perpetual asshat Stacey Campfield writing legislation that contains the actual phrase, "A female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola."

You may be wondering how all this legislation pertaining to genitals and breasts and what they do and to whom is going to help solve our state's problems — and I have to tell you, I don't know.

Joe Carr says that this bill, HB 3081, which raises taxes on strippers, escorts, pornography and sex toys, is about saving marriages. Apparently Rep. Carr has no idea that pornography is available for free on the internet, so if one's spouse has a penchant for it, the Hustler store being too expensive isn't going to dissuade him or her.

Also, if Carr doesn't think that a properly placed vibrator has saved a marriage or two in its day, it can only be because he hasn't tried it.

But let's dwell on Campfield a second. Over at his blog, he says, "This will put one simple question out there to legislators. Why would you vote for cheap porn, escorts and strippers and against lowering the tax on food?"

Yes, as always, Campfield is keeping those bitchez in line. Wherever a woman might be doing something with her body that Stacey Campfield doesn't approve of, you can count on him trying to pass legislation to make her life more difficult.

We still have an unemployment rate of 9 percent in this state, with some places almost twice that, and Campfield wants to make it more difficult for these women to do their jobs? Nice.

But here's the other claim he makes: "The fiscal study says the tax swap will generate $55 million in Tennessee in the first year alone (and it looks pretty stable after that) and the income generated would be dedicated to lowering the tax on food by up to triple (or even possibly more) the amount the governor has proposed in the next year. " Wow. Really? Fifty-five million dollars?

Let's take a look at that fiscal note.

—Based on data obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, the population in Tennessee for 2011 was estimated to be 6,346,105; the population for the U.S. is currently estimated to be 312,602,730.
—Tennessee makes up 2.03 percent of the national population (6,346,105 / 312,602,730).
—Tennessee accounts for 2.03 percent (or $267,960,000) of the adult entertainment industry’s total gross revenue ($13.2 billion x 2.03%).

That's just over $42 a person a year we're spending on porn, strippers, escorts, and sex toys. Each and every one of us. Even the babies. We are a bunch of perverts.

Except... the numbers bandied about for how much money the porn industry makes are notoriously unreliable. Forbes looked at this back in 2001 — which, yes, is a long time ago, but also a long time ago before the explosion of amateur porn available for free on the Internet. Back then, they were saying, "For the $10 billion figure to be accurate, you have to add in adult video networks and pay-per-view movies on cable and satellite, Web sites, in-room hotel movies, phone sex, sex toys and magazines — and still you can't get there." Ten billion is what folks were claiming back in 2001. I guess $13 billion is what folks are claiming now.

But it's worth it to look at Forbes' argument. At the time there was simply no way for porn to be making that much money. They put the number at $4 billion or less, a decade ago. And in the ensuing decade, we've seen the rise of amateur porn on the internet, the continuing struggles of Playboy, and the tendency of for-sale porn to cater to smaller and more specialized niches. In other words, it seems unlikely to me that the Forbes numbers are very far off where we are now. Adult entertainment revenues certainly haven't tripled since 2001. We all lost our jobs, our houses, and our savings.

So, yes, even if we take the high number Forbes gives ($3.9 billion), and we double it in spite of all the evidence pointing to the unlikelihood of there being that kind of growth, that's still just $7.8 billion, our share of which, after running the little adjustment noted in the fiscal note, is $138,553,000. That's $21.83 a person (even the babies) per year. Under this legislation, we'd pay $5.46 in taxes on that, which is $34,638,000 in tax revenue, not $55 million. And that's assuming a best case scenario — that the Forbes numbers have somehow, magically, doubled.

If the Forbes numbers have held steady, we only account for $79 million in adult entertainment revenue. Making the adjustment noted in the fiscal note, that would give us state tax revenue of $17,319,000, and $17 million is a far cry from $55 million.

I don't suppose $17 million is anything to sneeze at, and I know, when you're out of ideas for helping people, there's nothing like a little scapegoating. But before we go vilifying people's jobs and blaming them for the ruination of Tennessee's marriages, we ought to at least have our numbers right.

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