I just spotted this on Om Malik’s blog. So Shrub is putting forth a budget plan for the coming fiscal year that includes $2,770,000,000.00 (that’s almost 2.8 trillion) in spending. That is almost $400,000,000.00 more than he proposes to take in in revenues. He has come up with a brilliant way of trying to make up some of that deficit. He wants to tax unlicensed spectrum. For those who don’t know most radio spectrum is licensed so that you have to have a license from the fcc to broadcast on those frequencies. Radio and TV stations and cellular phone companies all have licenses to broadcast on the frequencies they use. The cellular companies have to pay for their frequencies. There are certain frequency bands that are set aside as unlicensed spectrum for use by lower power devices. The most common of these are 900 MHz and 2.4 and 5.8 GHz. These frequencies are used by devices like cordless phones, garage door openers, microwave ovens and in recent years wireless networking gear. Devices that operate at these frequencies are not required to be licensed by the fcc and users don’t have to pay any fees to use them other than buying the gear in the first place. But now shrub wants to tax unlicensed spectrum. How that would be implemented is not clear, but it just seems like a really bad idea. What are they going to do, tack extra fees on wifi gear and cordless phones? or are they going to cruise around sniffing for unlicensed frequencies and then knocking on doors with invoices for taxes?