Congressional Alert: Big Government Taxation of Internet

We all knew that the federal government was working towards it – but who would ever think it would be a senator who claims to be conservative and belongs to the Republican Party (Club)?
Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) have joined together to promote a bill that be one of the largest tax increases in US history – a levy on ALL Internet sales. State governments have already taxed the Internet in this way.
As usual, they have named the bill in a way that sounds like it is a good thing, you know, like the Patriot Act.
It is the Marketplace Fairness Act (S. 1832), first proposed in November of 2011 by Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY) now in the Committee on Finance

Conservatives thought that such bill was proposed by the democratic socialists, like Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, whose state has become a poorhouse from corruption and taxation, who is quickly going to join California as a nanny-state going bankrupt.

Dick Durbin, Far Right in photo, Politics: Far Left
This would mean that cost-saving websites like Amazonwould be forced to collect sales tax – indentured tax collectors as is the custom of the US federal and state governments. Worse, it will the small online retailers competition and put some out of business – detriment to the economical cycle that is needed to pull out of this deep recession.
Once again, government screws up our lives. They NEVER stop wasteful spending – they just either increase existing tax base or devise new methods of taxation. Americans, since the inception of the 16thAmendment has been paying taxes upon taxes – money taxed is re-taxed once, twice or three times over. Today, it leaves little for middle and lower income folks to spend on important things in life, necessary things; while those that are operating our government continue on the path of spending away money they don’t have. Literally, if any of the populace did what Congress does – the prisons would be overcrowded.
All because our government cannot and will not handle revenue as if it were their own; spending other people’s money is much easier.
I once admired Lamar, an affable and intelligent fellow whose successful 1979 gubernatorial campaign trademark was his folksy grassroots plaid shirt. After a couple of terms as governor, he accepted an appointment as Secretary of Education from George H.W. Bush in 1991. In that role, he unfortunately supervised the expansion of that department rather than its contraction as proposed by Bush’s former boss, Ronald Reagan. Predictably, after Lamar’s move to Washington, he progressively lost touch with his grassroots base and began a slide into the mediocrity of Republican moderation — which often renders its adherents ideologically indistinguishable from their Democrat opponents. I diagnose this condition as Chronic Potomac Fever, which infects too many well-meaning Republicans after they take up residence inside the Washington Beltway. By 2002, Lamar had become a card carrying “establishment Republican.” After his well-funded but narrow primary defeat of a strong conservative, Rep. Ed Bryant, Lamar went on to win the Senate seat vacated by Fred Thompson. To the detriment of conservatives and our Constitution, Lamar was elevated to Conference Chairman of the Republican Party from 2007 until 2012. However, given the influx of conservatives into the House and Senate ranks in 2010, Lamar announced his resignation, noting he was “stepping down from leadership to regain my independence.”The day after Lamar announced his support for the Internet tax, he sent me this explanation — which aptly demonstrates just how disconnected he has become.“This bill is about states’ rights; closing tax loopholes that basically subsidize out-of-state businesses at the expense of Tennessee businesses… Today, if you buy boots from a store in Nashville, by law the store collects the sales tax you owe and sends it to the state to pay for our roads, schools and other services we ask the state to provide. But if you buy the same boots online from a company outside Tennessee, that company doesn’t collect the sales tax you owe the state. … That’s not right. If businesses are going to fail or succeed, it should be based on the services they provide and the price of their products — not on whether a company can successfully avoid collecting sales taxes that their Tennessee competitors can’t get around collecting.”
First, if the feds are levying taxes on the Internet – how does this aid the states?
If Lamar Alexander is worried about tax loopholes, why is he NOT pushing to repeal the 16thAmendment – the income tax system has more “tax loopholes” than any tax system devised – a lawyer’s dream come true?
The senator is not being honest. Congress is scrambling to fix a runaway deficit – and all they can determine is that they need more funds to roll in, rather than sit back and take a look at how much US dollars is going to foreign nations and its people and how inefficient social programs, departments and agencies are still in operation when it no longer does what it was intended to do.
The government, in some cases, has literally taxed people to death.
Mark Alexander, no relation to Lamar, wrote that he replied to the preposterous excuse of raising taxes:
I replied to his contorted and disconnected marketplace reasoning with a reality check, noting first that under our present Constitution, if I purchase a product from another state, it is NOT subject to state taxes in my state of residence unless that vendor has a retail presence in my state. That has been the standard for interstate commerce for generations, whether placing orders by mail, by phone or by Internet (Quill v. North Dakota regarding the latter). Thus, suggesting that I “owe the state” sales tax when I purchase a product from another state is patently false. (Of course, some states endeavor to circumvent the sales tax exclusion by implementing “use taxes” — without much success due to the ludicrous complexity requiring that citizens track and report every purchase when filing state tax returns.) Further, it is absurd to suggest that the “boot purchase” example — avoiding sales tax — is the force that drives online sales. In some cases, people will go into a retail outlet, find a product they like, and then search online for a better price. I believe that is morally wrong. (And in regard to Sen. Alexander’s laudable desire to support local businesses, those boots were probably made in China or India.)The vast majority of Internet sales are driven by product, price comparison and convenience — old-fashioned free enterprise competition — not by short-circuiting a local vendor’s sale to avoid sales tax. In fact, many items purchased on the Internet may not be available in a local market.
Lamar Alexander asserted:

If businesses are going to fail or succeed, it should … not be on whether a company can successfully avoid collecting sales taxes that their Tennessee competitors can’t get around collecting.

Lamar disregards the fact that there is shipping costs – something that has risen like everything else because of the cost of fuel – which the feds get about 30% per gallon price, by the way.
The Marketplace Fairness Act, those that are for passing it, care not a hoot about the people in business and make like the Internet, which replaced most of the catalog mail business, has never paid sales tax for out-of-state purchases – only people living there and making purchases. Lamar also doesn’t add in his scenario the fact that a person, a tourist, from another state pays whatever state they physically purchase items in. So what is the point, senator?
The federal government is already beyond its limitations, and its inefficiency shows it. Now they want to pass a levy on the last free entity in America – the Internet, which goads them because they do not control it. The feds want to generate billions of dollars for state governments, I have not determined how much the feds get out of it – but that is what the summary of the bill implies. Do we, or should we, believe that the federal government is not going to take the cream off the top before states get their portion? And, how in the devil are they going to determine how much of those sales is from one state to another. It is about the central government taking control, when it is plainly clear in the Constitution that some things should be left to the state governments and the reasons why the Founders limited government.
During this time of a deep recession and economic uncertainty – no thought of tax increases should be on ANY politicians mind. And, so saying, there is one of the problems – they are politicians when campaigning, but they are supposed to be statesmen when they obtain office – abiding by the oath they took before taking that office.
And, here is something that didn’t cross my mind, but Mark Alexanderthought of:

If you are curious as to why online behemoth supports the Internet sales tax measure, it is because Amazon already has locations in many states, meaning Amazon sales in those states are already subject to sales tax. But Amazon’s support is more sinister. Determining, collecting and delivering state and local sales taxes on every purchase massively increases transactional overhead for small businesses that compete with Amazon. But Amazon is positioning itself to “rescue” those poor little businesses by processing all their transactions — in return for substantial surcharges on the taxes collected, of course. Caveat emptor!

RINOs, who call themselves “moderate” and in the name of “compromise” have helped create Big Government, politicians like Lamar Alexander who has allowed the glamor of Babylonian Washington, DC to corrupt him like so many others. Indeed, the “popular” candidates in the GOP primary are not going to fair better – they are “moderates” – RINOs, except for Ron Paul and secondly, Newt Gingrich .

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government has grown out of too much government.Thomas Jefferson