Friday, March 29, 2013

Ron Paul: Let’s Call This What It Is—An Internet Tax Mandate

Last week, during a series of Senate votes on the budget resolution, a majority of senators voted for an amendment endorsing the so-called “Marketplace Fairness Act.” The underlying Act has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with enriching large companies and bloated state governments, while harming small businesses, taxpayers, and consumers.

The National Internet Tax Mandate, as Campaign for Liberty refers to the bill, would impose costly regulations on our nation’s job creators at a time when the economy is still struggling and millions of Americans are out of work. Businesses would be forced to become tax collectors in compliance with thousands of tax jurisdictions, and any increased operational costs would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices.

It is unfortunately no surprise that some of the nation’s most powerful businesses are lobbying hard for this legislation. While these companies can afford to absorb the additional burden imposed by this bill, their smaller competitors cannot.

The Internet Tax Mandate also violates the original purpose of the Commerce Clause, which was to guarantee free trade among the states. Instead, the bill would allow states to levy taxes on goods crossing into their state, which is not what the Founding Fathers intended. Why should California be able to force a business in Texas to collect and pay California sales tax?

When considering any economic proposal, the unseen, potential ramifications must be examined. This mandate could discourage online commerce and stifle the growth of new businesses, exactly the opposite of what we need if we want to expand entrepreneurship and revive our economy. In addition, the long arm of Big Government would reach for companies operating in states currently lacking a sales tax.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Taxing Future Generations For Present Luxury Is Unethical Taxation without Representation

With U.S. national debt at an all-time high, the average American now owes $53,066 to the federal government; more than he makes in an entire year according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the real problem with this debt is that it will force future generations to pay for our decisions – something that is clearly unethical.

“No taxation without representation”, was a slogan common to the period leading up to the U.S. Revolutionary War. George Grenville, the British Prime Minister of Great Britain, rebutted against this phrase by stating that Americans were being represented “virtually” in parliament. The fact of the matter is that colonists did not have actual representation and the belief that colonists were being taxed without representation is a large factor that caused the thirteen states to denounce English governance.

Fast-forwarding to present day, can a congressperson represent someone who has yet to exist? Can a congressperson represent someone who does not exist? Can a congressperson know the interests of the unborn? Of course not! A congressperson can guess what future generations will hold valuable, but the laws of space-time make it impossible for future constituents to communicate with today’s lawmakers. And yet, future generations are being taxed heavily, and without representation, through today’s deficit spending.

Taxing future citizens is bad enough, but doing so to pay for our modern-day luxury is even worse. We spend their money on our food, our computers, our fancy cars and even our “Watermelon Queen”. Is this not a form of slavery? Are we not forcing future generations to give us their money before they are even born? Even aside from the aforementioned luxury items, is it fair to force someone else to pay for our housing, healthcare or even our prisoners?

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Can It Happen Here?

The decision of the government in Cyprus to simply take money out of people’s bank accounts there sent shock waves around the world. People far removed from that small island nation had to wonder: “Can this happen here?”

The economic repercussions of having people feel that their money is not safe in banks can be catastrophic. Banks are not just warehouses where money can be stored. They are crucial institutions for gathering individually modest amounts of money from millions of people and transferring that money to strangers whom those people would not directly entrust it to.

Multi-billion dollar corporations, whose economies of scale can bring down the prices of goods and services — thereby raising our standard of living — are seldom financed by a few billionaires.

Far more often they are financed by millions of people, who have neither the specific knowledge nor the economic expertise to risk their savings by investing directly in those enterprises. Banks are crucial intermediaries, which provide the financial expertise without which these transfers of money are too risky.

There are poor nations with rich natural resources, which are not developed because they lack either the sophisticated financial institutions necessary to make these key transfers of money or because their legal or political systems are too unreliable for people to put their money into these financial intermediaries.

Whether in Cyprus or in other countries, politicians tend to think in short run terms, if only because elections are held in the short run. Therefore, there is always a temptation to do reckless and short-sighted things to get over some current problem, even if that creates far worse problems in the long run.

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Where the Neocons Went, Rubio Is Following

The Republican Party has admitted it has a problem. Something has to change to restore the party to a place where it might be able to get one of its own elected president.

Senator Rand Paul, R-KY., has made clear that he agrees. Paul is focusing on the “things we need to do to be competitive on the West Coast, to be competitive in New England and Illinois.”

But Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., apparently thinks the way to get the GOP back into power is to move it backward—back to the Republican Party of Dick Cheney and John Yoo. Yesterday, Rubio traveled to Paul’s home state to suggest that Paul is an “isolationist,” and that:

We can’t solve every humanitarian crisis on the planet, we can’t be involved in every dispute, every civil war and every conflict. But we also cannot retreat from the world. It’s not that America will continue to function as the world’s police officer. The problem is that like anything in the world: If you pull back from it, a vacuum will be created… The alternative to U.S. [engagement] on the global stage is chaos.

Mouthing another neoconservative slogan, Rubio pronounced—ahistorically—that “Every single time that nations have retreated from the world, every single time this nation has retreated from the world, we have paid for it in the long run. We have paid for it dearly.”

As Daniel Larison points out, it isn’t clear which “retreats” Rubio was thinking of, but a few that call into question his argument would be Vietnam, Iraq, and hopefully someday Afghanistan. Whatever “dear” costs Rubio thinks we incurred by extricating ourselves from those wars, they pale in comparison to the American corpses and squandered trillions of getting into them.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz threaten filibuster on guns

Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are threatening to filibuster gun-control legislation, according to a letter they plan to hand-deliver to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office on Tuesday.

“We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions,” the three conservatives wrote in a copy of the signed letter obtained by POLITICO.

Reid plans to bring up a gun-control measure that focuses on broadening background checks and cracking down on interstate gun-trafficking after the current Senate recess.

Conservatives are concerned that once that bill reaches the floor, amendments could stiffen restrictions on gun control.

Moreover, they understand that Reid intends to allow liberal amendments that would limit clip capacity and ban certain assault weapons to be offered…

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