Well, the US Senate let its shoe drop.
Not about the possibility that Saddam actually didn't mail Anthrax to them, or the Florida publisher, or to CBS and the others. No. While he's still a suspect in that, as is bin laben and his ilk, it's far more likely some dingbat in this country did that.
What the Senate let slip is their eagerness to TAX the Internet.
Yes indeed.The House upheld the idea of the Net being a free market, extending the Two Year Ban on taxing it. The Senate, however, seeing dollars flowing freely and, ulp, UNTAXED, couldn't do it.
They seem to have forgotten that there is no National Sales Tax. Well, yes there is... on cigarettes, tires, beer, gasoline, whisky, telephone service, and whatever else Uncle wants to tax.
And that is the only way an Internet Tax will work. And that's why the Federal politico's are all over it.
Right now if you order something through a catalogue you have to figure in your sales tax for whichever state you live in. And sometimes, whichever city you live in. Then work out which tax is applicable, and then calculate three percent of the non-taxable amount of taxable merchandise under the 'grocery' rate or five percent of the 'non-food' total less the amount of any approved over the counter drugs.... Etc etc.
The Net, being World-Wide, isn't going to be easy to tax on a locality by city by state by whoever else passes taxes basis. And then you have to figure out exactly where the sale actually takes place, is it at the server's or the customer's location, or the owner of the site, or where the order is filled and mailed? Which may be in several different states.
Or even another country.
What it amounts to is that the politicians who are addicted to pork spending can't abide the fact that GW gave us some of our own money back. Every politician is sure they are more capable of spending your money for your own good than you are. And they can't stand it if they miss half a chance to do it.
The stories about real world stores missing out on income is baloney. That shopping malls with parking lots are loosing income is so much hooey. When the politicians cry about how warehouses in their districts are hurting because of all those people buying the President's jacket off the web is a lie.
All it is is this. The Politicians smell money that's slipping through their deformed clawed paw.
"Read my lips. No. New. Taxes." G.H.W. Bush.
Oh, yeah, he was lying too.
The Web is still a new toy to the politicians. Some of these guys still can't answer their own email. Some have never even seen their own Websites. A few of them are still convinced the Net is nothing but 'dirty pictures and the Space Shuttle'. They are all upset that money is changing hands and they don't have a clue as to how it works or why anybody would want to do it. They're not going after roadside stands or flea markets... why? They know how to use them, and probably moonlight selling baseball cards and needlepoint pictures on the weekend at their local farmer's market.
If something is new and different, especially if it is fast moving and open to everybody, it grates on the very soul of your average politician. As a species they are not comfortable with change or freedom. Oh they spout off all sorts of nice sounding platitudes, but, as with most the things any politician says, it's either high sounding bullshotz or simply a lie. Change is a bad thing to them. Anything new is to be regarded with suspicion and even outright hostility.
Because if change becomes contagious, the voters may decide to 'throw the bums out'.
Then the politicians might have to either get honest work selling used cars, running a pawn shop, or even dishonest work back practicing law.
So, to keep their voters happy, they spend money locally on programs and handouts, and to do that they have to raise the money by taxing everything that they possibly can. And then, to reward each other on their generosity, they hand out raises to themselves.
While the Desk isn't selling anything... and doesn't buy much of anything on the Net either come to think of it... It is flatly against Taxing the Net. Period.
Dear Mr. Politician:
Get out of my toilet, out of my clothes washer, out of my gas tank, and...
OFF MY WEB !
The Media Desk.