Railway union boss Bob Crow reckons putting a one-penny tax on text messaging would wipe out half the UK's deficit, demonstrating a rather optimistic approach to financial planning.
The comment comes in an interview with The Guardian, and is followed by the assertion that if in charge, the good Mr Crow would "squeeze the rich 'til the pips squeak": an approach which will probably gain more sympathy than the suggested SMS tax.
Cellular news does the mathematics – 100 billion text messages sent annually, one pence per text message, £1bn raised in tax against a government deficit of £149bn. That's also assuming that the number of texts wouldn't drop if they cost more: most operators bundle unlimited texts these days, GiffGaff for as little as a fiver a month; it's hard to imagine those users would send even half the number of text messages if they had to pay for every one.
Luckily Bob Crow isn't in charge of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, only the country's leading transport union, so we're unlikely to have to pay any tax on our text messages, or hear the rich being squeezed until the pips squeak, for better or worse. ®