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US House Votes To Renew Internet Tax Ban

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the partisan-as-ever dept.

The Almighty Buck 123

Talen317 writes with news that the US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to renew the ban on taxing Internet access — but only for 4 years, not permanently. A majority of House members (238) co-signed the bill to make the moratorium permanent. Republicans blamed the House leadership for refusing to bring this latter bill to a vote, charging that the Democrats wanted to leave the door open for future taxation. Not so, countered Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), one of the sponsors of the 4-year bill. The Senate must act on the moratorium before Nov. 1 if taxation is to be avoided, and Watt claimed that a permanent ban would be dead on arrival in the Senate.

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123 comments

Nothing is "permanent" when it comes to laws (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002119)

Especially regular old Congressional laws. Even a Constitutional amendment is amendable.

Re:Nothing is "permanent" when it comes to laws (3, Insightful)

JustinKSU (517405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002245)

Yes, but expiring laws force congress to re-address the issue, while it is much harder to get support for changing a non-expiry law on the books.

Re:Nothing is "permanent" when it comes to laws (5, Insightful)

WhyDoYouWantToKnow (1039964) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002375)

Not to mention that in four years they (Congress) get to show their support for the ban all over again. Thus ensuring votes from the soundbite voters. It would be very poor politics to make the ban permanent.

Re:Nothing is "permanent" when it comes to laws (1)

eonlabs (921625) | more than 6 years ago | (#21006591)

Granted, if anyone's interested, we could start poking our senators and congressmen to push the other bill forward before this one expires. A bill stating that 'Instead of the new legislature that states the ban will remain for four years, it will remain indefinitly'

This will arrive without the pressures that the first one has (the get it done by Nov clause)

Thoughts?

PERMANENT? (1)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002561)

Maybe you should have done a fucking search of the contents of the page before shooting your mouth off? Let's see, ctrl-F, type kdawson, yup - highlighted right there at the top. But no, you couldn't be bothered to do that. You had to jump in and start questioning people because your tiny little brain didn't pick up the fucking reference. Have some sympathy for others and don't fucking post here ever again you stupid cumdumpster. I hope your mother gets diarrhea tonight.

Re:Nothing is "permanent" when it comes to laws (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#21009437)

Even a Constitutional amendment is amendable.
Sometimes even ignored.

Thou shall not speak against the president.
WTF?? I didn't write that. Hmmm... new internet tapping laws must be filtering the tubes somehow.

Sudden outbreak of common sense? (1)

polaris878 (716143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002141)

It would seem so.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002155)

fuckfuck

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Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002467)

Sudden outbreak of election year politics. Notice that the ban is set to expire in 4 years, just prior to another big election year.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (2, Interesting)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003261)

Yes, but 4 years from now, voters are not going to be any more likely to be in favor of paying extra tax $$'s just because they bought something on the internet.

The reason such a tax is brought up is because state and local government are losing sales tax revenue to Internet purchases. A far better solution would be to charge a fixed sales tax on all out of state purchases, whether via mail, phone, or internet. Funneling those revenues back to local communities would be a big pain in the butt for the various tax agencies, but it beats making people pay extra on everything.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (1)

keirre23hu (638913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21008219)

Forgive me if I am wrong, but isnt this referring to taxing internet access? Many states already collect sales tax on purchases. If they aren't collecting taxes, then Amazon definitely owes me some money.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (1)

mechsoph (716782) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010451)

A far better solution would be to charge a fixed sales tax on all out of state purchases, whether via mail, phone, or internet.

This is what Indiana does. There's a special section on your state taxes to report out of state purchases. You can guess how effective it is.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010577)

Despite the media and political parties attempts to make it otherwise *this* is not an election year. The election is 13 months away and while many are focused on the presidential primaries most house and senate races have not even had all potential candidates throw their hat in a ring.

I wish to God that the trend of pushing 'election' coverage further and further back will reverse itself. We have many US senators (Hillary, Obama, McCain) some Governors (Richardson), and some congressmen (Paul) all spending more time searching for their next job then doing the one they have right now! This is excusable in the 8-12 months leading up to an election but down right sickening to have started in april...

Hell Fred Thompson was catching flack for not announcing in June (17 months before the election and 8 months before primaries)

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (2, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21005091)

It's not common sense. Over half the members of congress co-signed the bill to make the moratorium permanent, but they STILL couldn't get it out to the floor for a vote. That's nuts.

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010631)

Well it happens thats why committees have such power in the legislative branch. The Dems used it to prevent Judges from getting a vote on the floor they would have overwhelmingly won. The republics will pull similar tactics when it suite them..

Most of all they get used for grandstanding 'ie Hillary calling a General on the carpet as untrustworthy'

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21008897)

Not quite, maybe in this limited instance. But why is it that the default is taxation unless a bill is passed to ban taxation for some time period? Since when did the government gain the right to claim our money by default? It is our money and it is the government's privilege to be able to tax us, not the other way around.

And while we're on the subject of taxes, I still say that the income tax is unconstitutional. Sure they got an amendment passed, but they had to con us to do it. Let's hear it for the Fair Tax!

Re:Sudden outbreak of common sense? (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010687)

But why is it that the default is taxation unless a bill is passed to ban taxation for some time period? Since when did the government gain the right to claim our money by default?

Its for the Children, some progressives wont be happy until we are all servants of the state...

Any government strong enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to steal everything you have.

Until end of the world according to Mayan Calendar (5, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002153)

that is. 2012. i wonder if house members know shit that we dont.

Re:Until end of the world according to Mayan Calen (3, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002169)

Even if they do, wouldn't that make it a bit hard for them to collect taxes?

well (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002745)

there is no point in collecting taxes after world ends anyway. more profits to be reaped through nasdaq by tech sector's expansion.

Re:Until end of the world according to Mayan Calen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21004389)

And even if they theoretically could, wouldn't a permanent ban be useless anyway since they could just repeal later?

Not necessarily (1)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 6 years ago | (#21005045)

Clearly you have never been audited.

Hell hath no fury like a government accountant making $13/hour.

None.

I have not yet been audited... and I will now go offer a ritual animal sacrifice of some sort to ensure it stays that way...

Re:Until end of the world according to Mayan Calen (0, Offtopic)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002625)

The world won't end in 2012. *please mod informative, please mod informative*

Re:Until end of the world according to Mayan Calen (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002687)

I'm not modding you anything until i'm sure your right... See you in 2012!

yea (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002785)

it'll end in 2011

Re:yea (3, Funny)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003689)

Yeah but a demonic goat might burn it down first. Unless two greyscale dudes, a virginal dimension-hopper, a sentient broccoli, an innocent undead fish and his ruthless twin, and a satanic chicken manage to save the day. Did I forget the headless cyborg trekkie biker and a chain-smoking rainbow brite?

Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (-1, Flamebait)

slashkossucks (1160093) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002157)

Well, the caption certainly tries its liberal damnedest to obfuscate the facts, but make no mistake, the only reason this ban isn't a perma-ban is because of Democrats in the house and senate. Can I get a donkey icon?

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002237)

Huh? It says exactly that!

Almost modded that... (3, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002349)

I was just going to mod you flame bait, but I figured I'd do the more appropriate thing and ask you to provide a site of your statement. If you fail to provide one, I'll just flame you myself. What's a little karma in exchange for proper moderating?

-Rick

Re:Almost modded that... (0)

nip1024 (977084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003495)

http://www.user-groups.net/safenet/internet_tax.html [user-groups.net] http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/014895.php [captainsquartersblog.com] http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002605139.html [cq.com] http://www.congress.org/sicminc/issues/alert/?alertid=10412161 [congress.org] Even if you RTFA you can tell it's the Democrats that are blocking. 'The Senate, which must act next on the legislation, has "in many ways made it clear that a permanent moratorium would be dead on arrival,"' The Democrats hold the House and the Senate.

Re:Almost modded that... (1)

jahudabudy (714731) | more than 6 years ago | (#21009407)

There are 49 Democrats in the Senate, 49 Republicans, and 2 Independents that typically vote Democrat. I don't think you can blame the Democrats alone for any Senate failings.

Re:Almost modded that... (2, Informative)

nip1024 (977084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010031)

The Democrats are in control of the Senate and House. They are the ones that set the day-to-day agenda, have majorities on subcommittees and can block voting on bills. The Republicans can only block a vote by filibustering. Read the following articles and you will see exactly why I blame the Democrats for blocking the bill: Because the Democrats are blocking the bill. It isn't up for debate; it is a verifiable fact.

http://www.user-groups.net/safenet/internet_tax.html [user-groups.net] [user-groups.net] http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/014895.php [captainsquartersblog.com] [captainsquartersblog.com] http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002605139.html [cq.com] [cq.com] http://www.congress.org/sicminc/issues/alert/?alertid=10412161 [congress.org] [congress.org]

Re:Almost modded that... (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010753)

Democrats control the agenda, and dont forget you only need 40 folks to stop a vote altogether so a majority is not.. To be sure the Minority party can and often has stoped things cold. I give you 1993: Hillary's first attempt to nationalize our health care system with a democratically controlled house, senate, and white house. Phil Graham (R-Texas) stopped it dead with the battle cry 'It has been said that to oppose this bill is political suicide, well, this bill will pass over my cold dead political body' The minority Republicans stopped via procedure the bill from passing and it died there..

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002461)

Yea, cuz taxes==bad. Don't want to get any more complicated than that.

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002707)

Why yes they are. If they were good they wouldn't need be compulsory would they...

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002825)

Primary education is also clearly bad by your "compulsory" logic. Obviously, a poorly educated society is a productive one. See third world for examples of the runaway success of this theory.

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003905)

Oh my god you are so right, the countries in the third world have so low taxes... oh wait they don't ! They have kleptocratic government. And they don't have education as well... What ? Many do have efficient cheap private schools ? My my my... But your are right, I am stupid, according to my logic food would be bad since it is well known food can only be provided by the state through compulsory taxation. I'm glad the government taught you government's taxation is good in its government run public school.

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010795)

Primary education is also clearly bad by your "compulsory" logic

Ummm Primary public education is not compulosry you can send your kids to a private school or home school (well unless your in Germany then the state owns your kid).

Obviously, a poorly educated society is a productive one.

I know its a straw man but Ill smack him anyways: Productivity and education are not very related, the US has by most measures a much poorer educational system than most of Europe and Asia and about the most productive workers in the world..

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (2, Insightful)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21004431)

Sorry to ruin your fantasy, but it's not "taxes==bad", it's "too much taxes==bad". One line of reasoning is within the questions, are we taxed too little, just about right, or too much. Only if you think we're taxed too little does adding Yet Another Tax seem reasonable. Don't need to get any more complicated than that.

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (1)

Tikkun (992269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21005513)

no, I just want higher taxes on people who shop at walmart while I get most everything I need online ;)

What is it with people like you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002483)

Do you just refuse to look at actual voting records and just repeat whatever Rush Limbaugh says?

Republicans have raised taxes far more then democrats, historically. It was a Republican that lead the effort to make it a 4 year limitations. Yes democrats to.

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002601)

Well, the caption certainly tries its liberal damnedest to obfuscate the facts, but make no mistake, the only reason this ban isn't a perma-ban is because of Democrats in the house and senate.

As a registered democrat I'm happy they are. A permanent ban is idiotic.

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002675)

Now why would a permanent ban be idiotic? I hate seeing tax dollars wasted... until the gov can stop hemorrhaging money (and work with a balanced budget like we all have to) I think their source of money should dry up.

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (0, Troll)

megaditto (982598) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003765)

Because that would go contrary to the Democrat party principles:
If something moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it!

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21006103)

Because that would go contrary to the Democrat party principles:

There is no such thing as the "Democrat party."

If something moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, subsidize it!

And Republicans have been doing such a wonderful job of keeping government limited.

Re:Democrats blocking the perma-ban... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21008427)

No, no they haven't. But it is the mystique that Democrats want *big* government to pay for everything the people could ever need and to do that they need to *tax* the people. They haven't broken that mystique yet.

Ever notice in these write-ups... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002179)

...that the dumocrap always gets to reply to the repub, but when the accusation is the other way around, the repub isn't given a chance to comment...

Re:Ever notice in these write-ups... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002387)

I can't turn on the news without hearing about how computers are the devil, videogames cause violence, homosexuality is a disease, and how people are getting jumped in alleyways by roving bands of immigrants and having their jobs pulled right out of their pockets.

Ever consider that maybe the real problem is that the only way for a (normal) news outlet to get decent ratings is to pander to trolls that use words like "dumocrap" or "republicrap" and think of themselves as a republican/democrat first and an American second?

Re:Ever notice in these write-ups... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21004887)

Sounds like you turned your TV to Fox News and then broke the knob off, sticking it there.

I could simulate the equivalent for me by programming my TV to repeatedly cycle through all the remaining channels.

Re:Ever notice in these write-ups... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 6 years ago | (#21005957)

Yes I notice that a lot, especially when I've read the same story on an Australian or European news source like the ABC(http://www.abc.net.au/news) or BBC. As an Australian, I often wonder why your news is so heavily politicised and why it seems Americans need to politicise every part of their lives.

Idiots. Banning of the making of a law... (2, Insightful)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002203)

...is like worrying about "vulnerabilities" exploitable only by root. It's cosmetics. They can revoke this law and bring a new one that taxes the net if they wish so. Banning themselves from doing something at a later time is totally futile when they can just change their mind.

Re:Idiots. Banning of the making of a law... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002223)

except it isn't group think. So now you have to have enough member who want to repeal this temp. law, and then add taxing.
It also puts it aside for four years, so they don't have a vote on it every year.

Standard Politics

Re:Idiots. Banning of the making of a law... (4, Informative)

robkill (259732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002265)

RTFA -

It is a federal law banning state and local governments from taxing the net. That is useful to prevent artificial "tariff boundaries" that have no real relevance. Of course the definition of physical presence in a state for sales tax still applies, but that becomes an issue only for large web vendors with distribution centers (or other such offices) in multiple states.

Re:Idiots. Banning of the making of a law... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21009795)

RTFA

This has nothing to do with web vendors. It says so on the first line, "The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a four-year extension of a moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access." Why do you read the article before demanding that others do it.

Re:Not Idiots (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002587)

Why ban it permanently, when they can ensure that they'll be "lobbied" again 4 years from now.

The Congress doesn't work like that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21003847)

The first difference is that when revoking a law, they have to take responsibility - someone would have to propose a new law, and than they'd have to vote for it and have their names on the record. The second difference is that a filibuster or a veto could prevent revoking, while now an ordainary majority can just refuse to pass it again (it's harder to pass legislation than to prevent it from passing).

  Now, they can just let it lapse four years from now, and pass the hot potato around ("I wanted to ban the tax, but Congressman Y wouldn't let me" - Congressman X D(state). s/Y/X/ and you get what Congressman Y will say).

While I do appreciate not having an internet tax (2, Insightful)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002353)

... I don't see a problem with a tax for internet access. It is a service and is very similar to many other goods or services on which a tax is charged. I just don't see how this would be news whether or not it passed. If it did pass, I would expect to pay an extra two bucks for my high-speed service. Instead, I continue to save about 12 bucks annually. Sure, I wouldn't be in LOVE with the idea, but I wouldn't be surprised or outrageously put-off by the idea.

I think for this to be newsworthy, an internet tax would need to be proposed based off of the amount of network traffic produced (Like I could see some uninformed politicians proposing in order to keep the "tubes" cleaner). In doing so, anyone dealing with high volume transfer (e.g. Walmart Photo Center, Video and flash developers, youtube) would be forced to grind to a halt, however this is not the case.

Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002413)

they're taxes. Where does the money go, that's the question.

Help with a national health care plan? sure. Help with alternative fuel and carbon extraction RnD? sure. 2 bucks to give Wal-mart a tax break? not so much.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (2, Insightful)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002581)

If you consider that taxation is an encroachment on your (monetary) freedom, then taxation is a limit on freedom. As such, there should need to be a justification in exchange for the limitation of your freedom. Paying the police and fire department? Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people can agree reasonable taxation to provide for that is fair. Sin taxes to try to control someone else's behavior? Not so good, IMO. Everything in between is subjective and, as such, should be left to states and local communities to prevent 218 Representatives + 51 Senators + 1 President from imposing burdensome ideologies on the tens, maybe hundreds, of millions of people who don't support those ideologies.

For every bit of power you cede to the government, you also cede an equivalent amount of freedom. Don't complain when the other guy taxes you to fund his pet project that you disagree with if you're a proponent of your guy taxing people to fund your pet project. Sooner or later, each of your guys will eventually take everything.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (2, Insightful)

ppanon (16583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003715)

Paying the police and fire department? Yeah, I'm sure a lot of people can agree reasonable taxation to provide for that is fair. Sin taxes to try to control someone else's behavior? Not so good, IMO.
Does paying the police/defense department include supporting the War on Drugs, secret wiretaps "to catch terrorists". Because you know what, those are all about trying to control someone's behaviour too (as, fundamentally, is all of police/justice work).

A lot of people would disagree and think that sin taxes funding detoxification programs would be a hell of a better way to modify behaviour than the War on Drugs. One destroys lives and provides opportunities for organized crime whereas the other approach can help rebuild them.

But, hey, don't let results and observations conflict with your ideology.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21004027)

Police and fire departments are generally local organizations. I know of no national fire department, do you? The FBI, DEA, ATF, etc are federal police agencies, yes, but most people refer to them as feds or by department rather than the generic police. Local cops never solve things like murder and rape, they're all just eating doughnuts until they can find your stash. I'm waiting for the fire department to tap my phone too since you include them with the wire tapping agencies.

Careful with the sin taxes too... one man's sin is another man's pleasure and if you want want to encourage sin taxes, don't be surprised if someone advocates an extra tax for your guilty pleasure. I say that as someone who doesn't drink, smoke, or gamble (well, outside family card games and whatnot).

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21004307)

My point is that law enforcement is all about behaviour modification too. Law enforcement and sin taxes are two different tools to achieve similar goals.

It doesn't make sense to charge large taxes on someone stealing or committing murder. However there are certain behaviours that are currently dealt with through police/criminal enforcement that could be better addressed through taxation and education to encourage behaviour modification.

If people are committing antisocial or self-destructive behaviour, it's more effective to dissuade them from that behaviour early than to wait until they're in the gutter to throw them in the slammer. By that point behaviour patterns have had time to get much more strongly set and are that much harder to break. A stitch in time saves nine and so on.

If you're guilty about a pleasure, it's because you know it has some negative effects. If you're willing to accept the consequences, then you'll be willing to pay the added price. Sin taxes are generally about making sure that society doesn't pay an excessive portion of the price for your guilty pleasure. Or for mine.

My point is that there will always be (more or less valid) reasons to modify other people's behaviours. If police and criminal law is the only tool people have, that's the tool they'll use, with possibly unintended consequences (see prohibition in the 30's and how it fostered the rise of organized crime). So saying you only want to pay for police and FD doesn't fix the underlying problem of excessive government intervention.

I would rather that the government have a range of tools at its disposal. I wouldn't impose on a contractor that the only tools he's allowed to use to build a house is a hammer and a chisel. I would be a lot more concerned about enough oversight to make sure he's honest and sufficiently experienced to use power tools and cranes if appropriate instead of charging me for doing everything with a hammer and chisel.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (3, Insightful)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21004629)

The problem with sin taxes is once you start taxing based on perceived negative behavior, you set a precedent to tax other perceived negative behaviors. Sin tax on using net access for more than two hours a day(because you might be at home playing WoW, eating junk food and are likely to have coronary disease)? Sin tax for eating fast food (such as buying a salad at McDonalds while that all you can eat spaghetti over at the local italian joint isn't subject)? Sin taxes (beyond generic sales tax) on all that pop that is rotting your teeth, giving you migraines and disrupting your sleep? Sin taxes on television since it means you're likely to spend 4 hours a day watching it instead of doing something to benefit yourself or your community?

If you want to do anything other than live in a hut in the woods, growing your own food and jogging for recreation, negative effects of your behavior can be found. Crap, you said anti-social behavior behavior is lumped in with the sins so I guess we have to sin tax your hut too.

My point is that there will always be (more or less valid) reasons to modify other people's behaviours.
If you don't like my behavior, ignore it! Nobody is forcing you to consume a big mac with me. Nobody is forcing you to be gay just because that couple over there is. What, you don't want to pay for the long term effects of my (not really) smoking habit? How about the government not be responsible for my health care to begin with? Problem solved... you don't need to worry about what I'm doing to my body then. As long as I'm not harming you, walk away and mind your own business. My right to swing my fist ends at your nose and all that.

If police and criminal law is the only tool people have, that's the tool they'll use, with possibly unintended consequences (see prohibition in the 30's and how it fostered the rise of organized crime). So saying you only want to pay for police and FD doesn't fix the underlying problem of excessive government intervention.
Prohibition... ah yes, the ultimate ideology behind the sin tax. It's so bad for you that you flat out can't have it at all. You know what, people from NY drive to VA to buy cigarettes, people from PA come to NY to get booze, people from the US go to Canada to get booze with higher alcohol content, etc. Sin taxes just help drive the business underground. Sin taxes, excess taxation, big government and thwarting of your civil liberties all go hand and hand.

I would rather that the government have a range of tools at its disposal. I wouldn't impose on a contractor that the only tools he's allowed to use to build a house is a hammer and a chisel. I would be a lot more concerned about enough oversight to make sure he's honest and sufficiently experienced to use power tools and cranes if appropriate instead of charging me for doing everything with a hammer and chisel.
Why is it the government's job to fix you? What's wrong with charities, church groups, 12 step programs, etc? What you advocate is saying the government should be the one contractor that you can hire to build your house (because he'll work for no extra charge) and he can use any tools as he wants but there's no guarantee that he won't do a crap job because the funding will never dry up even if he sucks at it (see the farce known as public schools).

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21005243)

What's wrong with charities, church groups, 12 step programs, etc?


Exhibit 1 [wikipedia.org]
Exhibit 2 [wikipedia.org]
Exhibit 3 [wikipedia.org]
I can come up with more

What you advocate is saying the government should be the one contractor that you can hire to build your house (because he'll work for no extra charge)
For pennies more, then you get into circumventing your own nation on your side. Maybe I could suggest you get a business friendly lawyer [cohenlaw.com] to avoid those pesky citizens.

If there's one regulation worth getting rid of, get rid of Taft-Hartley. It amounts to not much more than slave labor.

(see the farce known as public schools).
See the problem with selective admissions in any form of education. Ironic that to get out of the problem, another one is created (selectivity).

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21005423)

I can come up with more
So if I enumerate several government programs which are abusive and are run like shit, it means the entire government is abusive and runs like shit and therefore are incapable of helping anyone? I know that if I don't like a charity or church, I can give my money to someone else... do you know how I can give my money to a competing government if I don't like the way it's run?

(see the farce known as public schools). See the problem with selective admissions in any form of education. Ironic that to get out of the problem, another one is created (selectivity).
So the implication is that if we got rid of private schools, public schools would suddenly start turning out 99% graduation rates full of independent thinking people? More likely, we'll just drag the educational level of those (previously) private school kids down to the level of the public school kids. The problem is public education is fundamentally broken (for a lot of reasons, not the least of which are the parents and government(especially at the federal and state levels)). Doubling school budgets where I live over the last 10 years hasn't improved education at all (actually, todays grads are uniformly dumber than those of 10 years ago) and the only solution the politicians can come up with is to throw more money at the problem, they won't even listen to anything else (ok, so the local paper had an editorial saying we need more racial discrimination in the hiring process in addition to more spending).

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

ppanon (16583) | more than 6 years ago | (#21006157)

I know that if I don't like a charity or church, I can give my money to someone else... do you know how I can give my money to a competing government if I don't like the way it's run?
Yes, you can vote to replace your government with someone who will cancel the program you hate so much.

What's that you say? You're outvoted and still have to pay taxes, something that doesn't happen in the private/religious sector?

Hmm, I guess you stopped getting telephone service in the 70's and also wouldn't have bought gas from Standard Oil in the early 1900's when people realized how they were ripping everybody off. After all, government regulation of markets isn't a necessary government function. People can just take their money elsewhere.

A lot of charities are run by churches because it gives them a chance to proselytize. And religious people don't like government programs that are competition to those charities because most people in need want help, not somebody preaching homilies at them. The government competition in providing those services makes the religious charities less attractive.

But fundamentally, government programs like the ones started with the New Deal came about because charities and church groups weren't enough during the Great Depression, they weren't enough during the Industrial Revolution, and they weren't enough for many of the thousands of years before that. However fortunately, unlike during the previous countless millenia, enough people have now recognized that it is to the general advantage of all the members of society, through greater social stability and better opportunity and development for its human capital, to provide those services.

Except for those with a high opinion of themselves who want enough other people to be desperate enough that they can have servants and sycophants to validate that opinion. Not realizing how, often, mere chance separates them from the role they would see others fill.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

Serengeti (48438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21005121)

"If you consider that taxation is an encroachment on your (monetary) freedom"

Which you shouldn't. Taxes are not encroachments on your monetary freedom any more than the local park is built just for your families enjoyment.

The GP had a good point... where money goes is the issue. Taxes can act as funding for public projects, or as subsidies to encourage various business methods. Both, theoretically, should be good for the public, but when you're introducing a new tax, you should be pretty clear about the intentions behind it. Will it benefit the public in a manner related to the internet? Will any of the money go to ISP's (maybe to stave off attacks against net neutrality)?

It's not as cut and dry as "you'll take more money from my cold, dead hands."

And for another point, how, exactly, do US businesses intend on charging citizens from every country for their own national tax?

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21006611)

"Everything in between is subjective and, as such, should be left to states and local communities to prevent 218 Representatives + 51 Senators + 1 President from imposing burdensome ideologies on the tens, maybe hundreds, of millions of people who don't support those ideologies."

So I guess you don't live in a democracy then, because in a democracy the idea is that the government should represent as many points of view as possible, and where your view differs from the government you should suck up and deal because, ideally, that means that most of society also disagrees.

Of course, this doesn't work in America any more because American politics these days is six kinds of stupid, which is my way of saying that I'm sick of talking about exactly how messed up it is.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

phantomlord (38815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21009043)

So I guess you don't live in a democracy then, because in a democracy the idea is that the government should represent as many points of view as possible, and where your view differs from the government you should suck up and deal because, ideally, that means that most of society also disagrees.

Of course, this doesn't work in America any more because American politics these days is six kinds of stupid, which is my way of saying that I'm sick of talking about exactly how messed up it is.
I live in a Constitutional Republic where we're supposed to have a weak federal government that mostly ensures basic rights (such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness) and regulates interstate and foreign affairs. See, the founders of this country knew that true democracy ended up in the tyranny of the majority where 50.1% of the people can vote to hang the other 49.9% and that a government with unbridled power was a government with unbridled power to control it's citizens. Everyone who advocates expanding the power of the government to be a nanny is pissing on the Constitution (and your rights) as much as those who mount a deliberate and direct assault on them. 50.1% of people voting that it's ok for police to install cameras in everyone's house to "protect the children" doesn't mean that it's ok for government to do it nor does it means that your rights aren't being violated.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002863)

Help with a national health care plan? sure.

Or maybe "no". Of course, some people see no problem with giving Government this kind of power to have direct access to your medical records. Oddly, the people who cry to have this kind of service are the same who cry about Government unlawfully snooping into your privacy. Sure, lets give them access to our medical records too! I couldn't see them ever abusing that power.

The only roll Government needs is to help break down the medical oligopolies to help competitive growth so medical costs can drop and become reasonable and as such business will stop loosing an arm and a leg to pay for medical insurance and can offer better coverage at less cost to the employee to the point that even Wal-Mart and McDonalds can offer it to part-time workers.

Don't have a job? Get one. Government isn't there to support your lazy ass.* Last thing the U.S. needs is to become France, where it's more productive to stay on Welfare than to get a job.

* reasonable disabilities aside.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (2, Insightful)

nsayer (86181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002915)

Taxes are bad for many, many reasons. Not least of which is that they empower the government. The government should have sufficient power to keep the peace, and that's all. Any more power than that always winds up finding the wrong hands (of course people will disagree on whose hands those are) and making us all worse off.

Re:Taxes are neither good nor bad (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21004893)

Taxes are neither good nor bad

A tax is a statement by an armed man: Give me your money (to do what I want with it, which I promise you I will use for good purpose) or I'll imprison you or kill you. Taxes are enforced by violence. If violence is a bad thing, then taxes are bad as well. But just as violence can have positive consequences sometimes, eg if used for self-defence against a criminal when attacked and no other methods are available, likewise taxes can have positive consequences as well (funding hospitals, schools, the necessary minimum of national defence, etc). So, taxes aren't good, but sometimes, especially when the government is ruled by sensible people of integrity and character, they are beneficial, either for the whole society or for specific parts of it.

Taxes, however, is not the only way of funding hospitals, schools, etc. If people were less self-centred and understood that the basis of society is co-operation and that a functional society is the key to the evolution and survival of the human species, people would be more willing to fund hospitals, schools, and any other needed service with donations or some form of gift economy. Another way would be to have everything, including hospitals and universities, act as for-profit enterprises, providing for their own survival in a free market economy.

I personally think donations is the best way to fund something, although I recognise that most people avoid donating and prefer to keep as much as they can for themselves. Actually now with the Internet it seems like evolved persons who understand the importance of making donations can more easily support the projects of their choice. Wikipedia seems to attract a good amount of donations, for example. If more people evolve to the point of understanding that they are not alone in this world and everyone gets access to the Internet, then perhaps one day we may not need taxes anymore and fund all services through donations.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (1)

getnate (518090) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002623)

I am pretty sure your internet access is already taxed as a sales tax in your local state (unless you live in Alaska, Delware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon but your local city could still have sales tax). This law will ban taxes by on goods and services bought over the internet and between states.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002889)

I am pretty sure your internet access is already taxed as a sales tax in your local state (unless you live in Alaska, Delware, Montana, New Hampshire or Oregon but your local city could still have sales tax). This law will ban taxes by on goods and services bought over the internet and between states.
I'm pretty sure you didn't RTFA.

FTFA:
The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a four-year extension of a moratorium on state and local taxes on Internet access.

a permanent ban would ensure that businesses would continue to invest in the Internet and keep access affordable for users.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002997)

Let's see... /gets out bill

RoadRunner: $44.95

Total: $44.95

Several years ago, they removed the franchise fee off the bill for people who just have internet access as well. This is from NY, btw... bastion of spend, tax and spend some more.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (2, Insightful)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002637)

I thought we already "paid" for the internet, in the form of giving a very limited subset of companies a government granted monopoly on the infrastructure to provide said internet.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 6 years ago | (#21006221)

Don't forget that we also paid for a lot of that infrastructure, which makes your point even more valid.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (1)

That's Unpossible! (722232) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002715)

I don't see a problem with a tax for internet access

Fine, take $5 each month and flush it down your toilet.

Its the equivalent of giving the federal government your tax payment -- same end result. You're out $5, and the money's been wasted on accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002791)

the amount of network traffic produced

Why should the tax man be calculating my internet bandwidth? The differences in bandwidth will usually be so small as to be irrelevant.

Tax on internet access should be treated the same as any other sales tax. Internet access tax should be based off the dollar amount of the service. In most cases, the dollar amount of the service will be based on the amount of network bandwidth used-- usually in a tiered system (100Gb/month for $20. 200Gb/month for $30, etc). But really, the price of the internet service is up to the provider.

If I buy a hammer at the hardware store, the weight of the hammer is irrelevant. I can buy one sledgehammer for $10, or buy 5 small hammers for $2 a piece. Each purchase is for $10, and the taxes should be the same. The sales tax is based on the price of the product, not the weight.

The most likely such tax (1)

hypermanng (155858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003115)

How about a tax on people in the city to make sure people out in the 'burbs and rural areas can get their internet service without having to pay the extra cost of wiring low-density areas? We could just add it to the list of covert subsidies for unfair, environmentally-destructive low-density living.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003295)

I don't see a problem with a tax for internet access.

I dunno. I see a problem with all taxes until we have a balance budget again by decreasing government spending.

Of course this might involve ending a war that costs $400 billion dollars a year.

I pay a little over 1/4 of my income now for state, city, and federal taxes as it is so even though it wouldn't kill me to pay a few more dollars a month for internet taxes, it is salt in the wounds for a government that has no control over its spending habits.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21008585)

In theory, a sales tax on Internet service would go to your state (or city, if it has a local sales tax), so it wouldn't be part of that wasted $400 billion. Whether or not your state does anything useful with the money depends on your state, but the budgetary disaster of the federal government isn't really a valid argument against local taxes.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (1)

LeeMeador (924391) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003585)

I would expect to pay an extra two bucks
Is this supposed to be humor?

I looked at my phone bill last weekend. The phone service costs $35 and the voice mail costs $8. The total bill, after adding the "taxes": $63. You figure it.

Cell phone bill? Same sort of silliness.

An internet bill would likely work the same way as regards taxes.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21003839)

So what you're saying is that we can take as much of your salary away for the "public good" as we want, and you don't really care what the money is used for, as long as it's done in $2/month line items?

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21003989)

CaptainPatent posting as AC:
I find it quite laughable the assumptions made about GPP. Of course I care what the money is used for and I completely agree that the government itself spends money inefficiently. With that said, we're talking about a completely different issue now. No, you can't take "as much of my salary away" as you want because there is a point of ridiculousness. The point I'm making is exactly as GPP states: It would suck to have to pay more, but I wouldn't be surprised or outrageously put out by a tax solely on "internet access" (unless, as I said, it was based on something ridiculous like usage.)

If there were 17 new taxes passed today, or if I directly claimed "I'll surrender my entire wealth to the government for public use" then you may have a point (and there would be something wrong with me.) Until then, you need to take the grandparent post at face value and stop making outlandish assumptions.

Re:While I do appreciate not having an internet ta (1)

Slashdot Parent (995749) | more than 6 years ago | (#21009631)

If it did pass, I would expect to pay an extra two bucks for my high-speed service.
Well, maybe that's what you'd expect, but that's not what you'd get.

Way back when, I decided to downgrade my landline to the lowest possible cost. After all, my wife and I both have cellphones for outgoing calls. What do we need to pay $50/mo for a landline for? I called Verizon and asked what their cheapest possible plan was. Unless you are low-income, the cheapest plan was $7. I am not low income, so I oped for $7/mo.

Time goes by and I get my first phone bill under the new rate. I figured it'd be about $9 or $10 with taxes and whatnot. I opened it, and to my shock and horror, it was just over $20! I called Verizon to have them correct this obvious mistake. It turns out it was not a mistake. I don't still have the bill (this was several years ago), but it was a few bucks to the county, a few bucks to the state, a few bucks to the feds, 911 charge, universal service fee, etc., etc., etc. All of this nickel and diming added up quickly, practically tripling my bill!

So this is why I am against taxation on internet access. I don't want $20 charges for $7 service. I don't mind paying taxes, but can't we just keep it simple? Property taxes for local gov't, income and/or sales taxes for state, and income for federal. What's wrong with that?

All of these taxes and surcharges really hack me off. They make it impossible to budget and plan, since you never know what something is going to cost before you buy it. Want that $39.99/mo cellphone plan you saw advertised? Well, tough noogies, because it isn't available. Want to know what it really costs? Tough noogies, nobody really knows. You can only find out after committing to pay an unknown amount for 24 months.

Really, you're ok with this? If so, I think you're nuts. No offense.

The fig leaf of permanency (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21002831)

What poppycock. We're not talking about a constitutional amendment here. The suggestion that congress couldn't undo a tax ban that has no sunset date later is just laughable - particularly when it involves the prospect of further picking the taxpayer's pockets (which we know politicians have no qualms about doing).

Just make a Government Sales Tax already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21002927)

Let's drop the income tax and make a GST, which would be applicable to all purchases.... ahh.

Of course (1)

alexj33 (968322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21004557)

Not so, countered Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), one of the sponsors of the 4-year bill.


Of course the Democrats are always our heroes on Slashdot, since they selflessly swoop in and save the day from those eeeEEEvil Republicans. Isn't it just wicked cool that on Slashdot Democrats never say or do anywhing wrong?

Fund raising (1)

DreamerFi (78710) | more than 6 years ago | (#21006733)

Of course they're not doing it permanently, that way there would be no fund raising on this issue in four years.

House supports 4 more years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21007051)

The House leaders are deliberately [cq.com]blocking amendments, backed by a majority vote, that would guarantee a permanent ban on Internet taxes. This is not in tune with the strive for bi-partisanship that Nancy Pelosi promised us as a House Leader - this is procedural abuse!

"the US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to renew the ban on taxing Internet access -- but only for 4 years, not permanently."


This is not true. Even the linked article seems to refute this. There's in fact overwhelming support for amending a bill to make the ban permanent. How this factual error got past the editors is beyond me.

Possible Source of Controversy (1)

Deliveranc3 (629997) | more than 6 years ago | (#21010713)

While people who haven't read any of the REAL news sources on this bill are saying yay! Free no taxation! There is a new element in the works that's pretty evil.

The Teleco lobbyists have pushed (with the backing of the FBI) for VOIP to be taxable, so they'll still have to examine your packets and have funding/access to your conversations over the net.

I wish some politicians or news agencies in the U.S. would put up stronger resistence to this kind of backdoor shenanigans... but what do I know.
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