The 'ah-hah moment' occurred when I was reviewing one of my Vast Right Wing Conspiracy email feeds. This particular missive came to me from the outfit known as "Let Freedom Ring" - as advocacy in favor of the Senate bill to make every online merchant collect sales tax for every stinkin' tax jurisdiction in the country. As "Let Freedom Ring" put it:
Dear Friend,I was motivated to dash off a snarky email retort that in all likelihood went to a blind in-box no one will ever read.
The so-called "Internet Tax" is an issue that many on our side of the political spectrum - the right side - are misrepresenting. The actual name of the bill is The Marketplace Fairness Act, and it is a common-sense solution to the unequal tax treatment of online retailers and their brick-and-mortar competitors that affirms federalism by empowering states to make their own revenue policy choices.
No one is in favor of piling new tax burdens on hard-working Americans, least of all Let Freedom Ring, but this bill does not impose any new taxes.
As conservatives, we must: a) ensure that all businesses and entrepreneurs are able to compete under the same rules on a level playing field, b) that the rule of the law is upheld, and c) affirm the principle of federalism.
Further, we should ensure the cost of government is not hidden from its citizens. The Marketplace Fairness Act addresses each of these conservative goals.
... et cetera ...
You are correct this bill does not impose any new taxes. But you miss the point. The bill imposes a punative compliance burden. For this reason it must not become law.==
If the Fed Gov really wants to do this, it should simply build the secure web service online merchants can call in real time to determine tax based on the client device's geographic location. I could reach into my LinkedIn network to assemble a team of half a dozen people to build the web service in a few months. I am far from unique in this regard. But, of course, as we've seen with the Obamacare exchanges, asking the Fed Gov to actually build something that runs on the web and provides a useful service is in fact an impossible dream.
Obviously I left out a few assumptions and scoping statements that would be in the actual proposal if it were ever written. Such as unfettered administrative access to the high availability server farm of the Fed Gov's designation, unfettered access to whoever the hell in the federal bureaucracy could accurately collect and maintain the database of the myriad tax rules underlying the proposed service, and no responsibility for the mind-numbingly tedious task of creating interface documentation. :)
In all seriousness, this is the insight kiddies ... The Federal government needs to figure out how to stop being a monolithic manufacturer of unfunded mandates for everybody, and somehow "fundamentally transform" itself into a provider of useful services that actually generate revenue for somebody. I'm not holding my breath that this tranformation will ever occur in my lifetime.
As far as the Obama Scandalpalooza we are all now witnessing in real time - I'm still in "grab some popcorn and enjoy the show" mode. But I will say I have two very different initial takes on the AP phone tapping scandal and the IRS abuse of power scandal.
I don't think the AP phone tapping scandal will go very far. A lapdog remains a lapdog even after its' owner kicks it. The White House will find a way to shut up the corrupt and biased liberal media on this one.
The IRS scandal that is widening before our very eyes at warp speed is another thing altogether. It's the bureaucracy vs. the politically active segment of middle America - straight up, no love lost on either side, and stakes high. This could very well be the revolutionary flash point I've always felt we've needed since I inaugurated this blog. I need to stock up on popcorn.
Update to Footnotes (5/15/13)
It's on. The people vs. the bureau-weenies and their dark statist masters is about to be filed.