The Washington Post has a provocative headline
this morning: “Poll: Majority of Republicans OK with revenue increases.”
After asking a series of questions about the debt, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation poll conducted by Global Strategy Group asked respondents: “If both parties were to agree on a long-term solution on the national debt, I would support it, even if it includes revenue increases that I don’t agree with.” 54-percent of self-identified Republicans agreed.
Word choice matters here, and the decision to use “revenue increases” as opposed to “tax increases” was intentional (every word in a poll is carefully chosen). Peterson’s spin on the poll was that everyone wants “a majority of voters in both parties are willing to give ground on key issues in order to achieve a much desired, long-term fiscal solution.” To arrive at those polling results, the questions whitewashed the policy prescriptions being discussed, i.e., tax increases.
Pollsters understand “tax increases” are unlikely to poll as well as “revenue increases.” This is not controversial.
Last night, the Senate moved to end debate on so-called Marketplace Fairness Act
, more commonly known as the Internet Sales Tax. The bill would turn small, online businesses into tax collectors for states in which they have no real connection
. Despite representing a state without a sales tax, Delaware Senator Chris Coons favors the legislation.
According to the Associated Press, Coons “supports the bill in part because tax-free Internet sales are eating into sales by Delaware retailers.” The article continues:
“In our region, we’ve long benefited from significant commercial sales from residents of Maryland, of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, who come to Delaware to shop because we’re a tax-free state,” Coons said. “Over time, the benefit of that has eroded as folks discovered that they could buy the same things online without paying sales tax from home.”
This is earmark-style parochialism at its worst. Coons wants to end tax-free shopping online so people will bring their tax-free shopping habits back to his home state.
So insular is Coons’ focus, he is urging “residents of Maryland, of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and elsewhere” to break their respective states’ tax laws. As the same AP article explains, “In many states, shoppers are required to pay unpaid sales taxes when they file state tax returns.”
Guest Post by David Addington, The Heritage Foundation
To hear the brick-and-mortar businesses complain of the need to enact S. 743, the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, you would think that the Constitution entitled every brick-and-mortar store to a successful business model in perpetuity. The legislation, on which the Senate will act shortly, authorizes states to order out-of-state businesses to collect their state’s sales tax on sales over the Internet. The legislation overturns the existing rules in the free market, to the benefit of the brick-and-mortar businesses over their competitors.
The rules concerning sales by catalog, telephone, or Internet by out-of-state businesses that have no facilities or employees in a state have been clear for 21 years. In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Quill Corporation v. North Dakota that states cannot force such out-of-state sellers to collect the state’s sales taxes on those remote sales. The proponents of S. 743 want Congress to change the rules that have existed for 21 years so that brick-and-mortar companies have a new government-provided advantage over the Internet-oriented companies.
Millions of business decisions have been made in the free market over those 21 years by businesses of all kinds, choosing whether and to what extent they would rely in their sales of goods and services on physical facilities such a stores and showrooms and whether and to what extent they would rely on catalogs, telephone solicitations, or sales over the Internet. Many companies have chosen one model or the other, or combinations of the two, to sell their products and services. All those companies have had the opportunity to compete in the marketplace under that stable set of rules set forth in Quill. Apparently, many of the businesses that chose the brick-and-mortar business model are now feeling the heat of free market competition, so they want government to change the rules to favor the brick-and-mortar business model.
OBAMA TAX DAY.
It would be futile for the Left to try to deny how central so-called class warfare
is to being President Obama. That is what he ran on and won his presidential elections – pitting Americans against Americans.
For Obama, this spring’s fights over class represent both a political challenge and a definitional moment. His most consistent argument — that higher taxes on the well-to-do are the essential element in preserving popular government benefits to the middle-class and poor — is in tension with his most consistent promise, that his presidency will break Washington gridlock and elevate problem-solving over ideological purity.
However, President Obama’s policies have not helped the middle class, and it is untrue that only high income earners have seen their taxes increase during his time in office – the middle class has as well. His tax hikes are harmful to the economy and to all classes of Americans.
Today at 11 am, the gun legislation
a handful of Senators have been working on will be revealed, but in Washington, getting things done does not equal making things better:
Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) hope to announce a deal Wednesday and are just working out legislative language, an aide close to the negotiations said Tuesday night. The two lawmakers scheduled a press conference for Wednesday morning, according to advisories issued by both offices.
The deal under discussion would expand background checks for people buying guns from unlicensed dealers in commercial sales online and at gun shows, according to the aide. Currently, only federally licensed dealers must conduct background checks and keep paper records of the sales. The lawmakers agreed to exempt sales to immediate family members and some hunters from the new requirements.
Mr. Schumer and Sen. Mark Kirk (R. , Ill.) also participated in the negotiations.