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The Almighty Buck

Sen. McCain Introduces Bill to Ban Internet Taxes Forever 277

whiteprints writes "Senator McCain has introduced a bill to ban internet taxes. " McCain is proposing to permanently ban Internet tax - a welcome proposal by quite a number of folks. He's also currently one of the Republican political candidates, and a major power in the US Senate.
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Sen. McCain Introduces Bill to Ban Internet Taxes Forever

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  • Your use of public roads is highly subsidized

    Compare the revenue brought in from the gasoline tax and compare it to the money spent to maintain public roads. You'll find that they're pretty close. And if that's not enough money, then ask to pay more for road maintenance. I mean, you'll pay the money sooner or later, either in gas taxes or in front-end alignment and new tires.
    -russ
  • Do you see that there is a nutrition problem when you only eat the food available from a McDonald's? So why are you defending a McEducation? If a child has their time filled up by junk education, how can a parent find the time to teach them values and morality? The typical school day lasts ten to twelve hours when you count the assigned homework and reading. And we thought we banned child labor!

    You're presuming that private education is more expensive than public education. The facts belie you. Private school tuitions are lower than the per-pupil costs for public education. Not all of them, of course, but even one is an existance proof that the poor won't go without.

    You're right about the poor quality of public education. I mean, you can't capitalize, you can't spell arise or dropped, and you write run-on sentences. And you forgot a comma: "The more educated everyone is the better". They did manage to teach you one thing useful to them: that government schools are a necessity.
    -russ
  • So? Mint your own money. What's stopping you? ecash protocols exist. Implement one, and put some capital into it.
    -russ
  • Before we get too hearts-and-flowersy about Sen. McCain, y'all might want to take a look at an EFF statement about his library filtering bill [eff.org]. This guy's supposedto be against big government?
  • McCain also came forward this week and asked Pat Buchanon to remove himself from the Republican Party because of his comments on the topic of Hitler.
    Between that and the ban on Internet taxes, you've got one froody candidate. He's a definate maverick, and I like that in a politician. Too bad I'm not a registered Republican, or I could vote for him in the primaries...
  • The concept of a good public education system was adopted on the founding of the US because of disgust with the English private education system and the class structure that it promulgates. If you do not have a good publically funded educational system the sad fact of the matter is (and history has proven this many times over the past 2500 years) that you end up with a society where people do NOT have an equal opportunity to advance themselves. One of the most amazing characteristics of American society is that children of sharecroppers can go to Yale Law School and become President of the US. Elimination of publicfunding of an educational system would be the end of the US as the land of opportunity.

    It may not be the most efficient way, but the inefficiencies are far outweighed by the benefits of having equal opportunity to get an education.
  • I believe you've made a logic error here.

    Because McCain sponsored an unpopular law (the CDA), does that automatically make all
    his efforts in re: the internet equally as bad
    as CDA? Of course not. Is he trying to censor
    the net now? Far from it, it would seem.

    Banning internet taxation is a good thing - I don't see the need to even bring the CDA into it.
    The issues are not related to anyone except one
    who feels the need to quibble over political issues.

  • > I agree with those that laud McCain for his integrity, as well as the cynics

    Personally, I think he leaves a better impression than most of the pack. But he is a politician, and it shows through now and then.

    I won't try to judge his motivations in this case, but I do have a more general observation: for a politician, the best bills are the ones that don't get passed. That way you get full credit for your good intentions, but you don't have to live with or take the blame for the consequences. And you can bash your rivals with it in aeternum -- after all, "If you'd passed my legislation, the world wouldn't be in the sorry state it's in today."
  • And of course having the government fund your U.S. Government class doesn't ever result in any "our system's good, their system's bad" propaganda, self-serving explanations of the powers of government, etc.

  • I might consider voting for him, but unfortunately, the Republican party in general spends FAR too much time creating ways to infringe on personal privacy, and FAR too much money on corporate welfare. I can't help but wonder if this is merely a political gesture - the election is, after all, next year.
  • Last I checked, only states have different tax rates, not cities... And what would be easier, is if the tax percentage is charged from the state the vendor is located in. So if the vendor was located in Indiana, he should charge the 5% Indiana State tax, just like he would do if someone had gone to his store and purchased it in person. And a smart thing for big vendors would be to put their store in a state with really low taxes. It would be like the Luxembourg of America :P Okay, I think paying taxes sucks, but there is a reason we pay taxes, and as more and more people start to purhase things off the internet, I see that an internet sales tax may be needed.
  • I'll trade the inefficient services that can be done cheaper privately, I'll trade the studies on ketchup flow, I'll trade the pork barrel, I'll trade the goodies that attract the bribers.

    Taxes may still have to be there to pay for police, courts, army, state department, but frankly the churches have done a better job at charity and private corporations have a better record doing most of the rest.

    You could have a lot lower taxation *and* keep the internet tax free on that kind of arrangement.

    TML
  • What we need to have one line, ala Thomas, is a list of folks seeking our vote and where they stand on the net in ACTION, not jsut in Word.
    (does this already exists?)

    Lets not forget
    • Mr Gore and his stabs at crypto and the net
    • Mr. FRANKS , Mr. PICKERING, Mr. OXLEY for H. R. 543
    • Mr. MCCAIN and Mr. HOLLINGS for S. 97
    • Mr. KLINK, Mr. DINGELL, Mr. STUPAK, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. GREEN , Mr. BRADY, Mr. KANJORSKI,Mr. DOYLE for H. R. 2763
    • Mr. SANTORUM for S. 1545
    Etc etc...

    Time for a real Thomas Search.
  • Nope! Let the riders pay their fair share.

    What is the fair share? Is it the cost of the system, or the cost of the system minus the cost of pollution, roads, traffic accidents, and the urban blight caused highway sprawl???

    How about the indirecct cost of a large military to defend those middle eastern oil wells needed to keep your SUV gas tank full (last I saw, that was nearly $1.00 per gallon all on it's own).

    The fact is that the highway system is HEAVILY subsidized in any number of subtle ways.
  • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <mindstalker@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Friday September 24, 1999 @11:21AM (#1661470) Journal
    Both of your examples seemed to be of public schools, that took money from private corportations. In which I'd be willing to bet the parents at those schools had absolutly no resource to what the school did (except maby legally) in a free market system, the parents would simply switch to a new school. So it seems your getting the arguments of a public school funded by private money and a private school funded, mostly from its customers mixed up. I do agree though, that it should be the States responcibility to fund these schools (or atleast provide the money to the parents) otherwise parents looking for a low cost solution just might pick "Coke" school or something like that. But with a minimum money backing equal to the normal cost there would not be such a problem. But then the problem would come with how would schools compete by price, which is a damn good question one of which I don't have the answer too.. cause after all.. no matter what people choose to call me.. I am not God.
  • That rumbling noise you hear is Karl Marx spinning in his grave.
  • sales taxes tax those who spend the most... Much fairer if you ask me. not quite, beacuse poor people will end up spending almost all of there money. if sales tax is at %6, then most poor people will end up paying about %6. whereas rich people will pay less than %1. that dosn't seem very fair to me (and if sales tax were %20 as would be nesisary to fund the whole nation...)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • I really hope this would pass. But it won't. The government can't pass up a chance to double dip us on taxes :(
  • If private education is bad, homeschool.

    Signed,
    sklein
    A professional programmer who's been to four days of school.

  • I have always admired Senator McCain. Now I have another reason to do so.
  • What you just said defines Communism! Geeze, get out of here!
  • You seemed to miss the point made in the article you replied. Some states have no sales tax, and in the case of new internet taxes where they tax the state the vendor is in, you better believe I'll be making all my purchases from Oregon.

    Also taxe's do vary by cities and counties, they add a percentage onto the state tax (at least here in Washington). My home town has a 7.8% sales tax whereas some areas of Seattle can have high as 8.5% or more.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "we don't even NEED public schools. As a product of private schools, I am living proof. "

    Let me get this straight: because YOU were a product of private schools, we (or anyone else subject to the American system) don't even need public schools.

    Are you saying that only those people whose parents can afford to get them a private education actually need one? Or that everyone can make do with a private education at your school as long as it deigns to let them in?

    I'm not sure what your private school taught you, but I can point out several things you might perchance go back and learn:
    • Compassion - Jesus said, "that which you have done unto the least of mine, you do unto me." A society's degree of civilization is largely determined by the quality of life of its poorest citizens.
    • The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, Section 1. This has been used not only to establish the right to public education, but to enforce equal funding between the rich and the poor school districts. As a citizen (I'm presuming of the US), the government has the right to charge you money for the services it provides. Many more and wiser people than you have decided that educating our youth is a state need in order to train them to become proper citizens. They're correct. You'd do well to understand that.
    • The Declaration of Independence, which says in part that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Education, even for those who can't afford it, is absolutely necessary for citizens to live, be free, and pursue happiness in America.
    • A Basic Logic Class, starting with the premise that you are not the only person on the planet who is 'entitled' to anything.
    Frankly, I don't know whether to blame you, your parents, or your school, for your selfish and poor attitude. Regardless of how you feel about taxing the Internet, you're not making anyone very proud to be American.
  • by Jason Cain ( 17031 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @08:59AM (#1661480)
    How can it be a "permanent" end to internet taxes? Congress could always just amend the bill again, or write another bill repealing it. But it does seem to be a step in the right direction. Now if it will just pass.
  • Why would you ever want to sabotage tech research with more government money? The government does most things less efficiently and with a lot more politics than private industry. If the money stays in the hands of the people who earn it, it's going to get spent on what they want, not on the priorities of hundreds of congressmen who have a profile heavily weighted towards lawyers and away from engineering/science/technology.

    I can do more good for the cause of science and moon colonies by sending $1000 to a company to build a better rocket motor than sending $10,000 to the government in taxes.

    TML
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "we don't even NEED public schools. As a product of private schools, I am living proof. "

    Let me get this straight: because YOU were a product of private schools, we (or anyone else subject to the American system) don't even need public schools.

    Are you saying that only those people whose parents can afford to get them a private education actually need one? Or that everyone can make do with a private education at your school as long as it deigns to let them in?

    I'm not sure what your private school taught you, but I can point out several things you might perchance go back and learn:
    Compassion - Jesus said, "that which you have done unto the least of mine, you do unto me." A society's degree of civilization is largely determined by the quality of life of its poorest citizens.


    The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, Section 1. This has been used not only to establish the right to public education, but to enforce equal funding between the rich and the poor school districts. As a citizen (I'm presuming of the US), the government has the right to charge you money for the services it provides. Many more and wiser people than you have decided that educating our youth is a state need in order to train them to become proper citizens. They're correct. You'd do well to understand that.


    The Declaration of Independence, which says in part that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Education, even for those who can't afford it, is absolutely necessary for citizens to live, be free, and pursue happiness in America.


    A Basic Logic Class, starting with the premise that you are not the only person on the planet who is 'entitled' to anything.

    Frankly, I don't know whether to blame you, your parents, or your school, for your selfish and poor attitude. Regardless of how you feel about taxing the Internet, you're not making anyone very proud to be American.
  • by Signal 11 ( 7608 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:01AM (#1661486)
    The internet will eventually be taxed, barring a constitutional amendment to stop it. The reasons are simple - if all commerce occurs online, then where will state governments get their funding from? We need taxes to support things like the highway system, public transportation, and public education. The state governments get the majority of their funding from property and sales taxes! You can't simply destroy one source of revenue without creating another.

    So fine, don't tax the internet. What will you trade for that priveledge? There is no easy money to be made - you gotta pay the piper. It's just a question of who, and how much.

    --

  • "we don't even NEED public schools. As a product of private schools, I am living proof. "

    Let me get this straight: because YOU were a product of private schools, we (or anyone else subject to the American system) don't even need public schools.

    Are you saying that only those people whose parents can afford to get them a private education actually need one? Or that everyone can make do with a private education at your school as long as it deigns to let them in?

    I'm not sure what your private school taught you, but I can point out several things you might perchance go back and learn:
    Compassion - Jesus said, "that which you have done unto the least of mine, you do unto me." A society's degree of civilization is largely determined by the quality of life of its poorest citizens.


    The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, Section 1. This has been used not only to establish the right to public education, but to enforce equal funding between the rich and the poor school districts. As a citizen (I'm presuming of the US), the government has the right to charge you money for the services it provides. Many more and wiser people than you have decided that educating our youth is a state need in order to train them to become proper citizens. They're correct. You'd do well to understand that.


    The Declaration of Independence, which says in part that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Education, even for those who can't afford it, is absolutely necessary for citizens to live, be free, and pursue happiness in America.


    A Basic Logic Class, starting with the premise that you are not the only person on the planet who is 'entitled' to anything.

    Frankly, I don't know whether to blame you, your parents, or your school, for your selfish and poor attitude. Regardless of how you feel about taxing the Internet, you're not making anyone very proud to be American.
  • Nonetheless, most states have a sales tax, and those that don't, have something else. Vermont has the State Liquor Stores... I don't know what Oregon has. Maybe liquor stores and lotteries and licensing fees for gambling and so on are a viable way to run things, but they aren't the norm, and the 45 or so states that -do- have sales tax are going to have to find a new source of income PDQ if the e-commerce becomes the standard way to shop.
  • One thing that really bothers me is people like you who thing they have all the answers, please dont commit to a decision untill you have sought out all the facts on a particular subject.
  • I'm not scared of a world govenment, because I know Americans and I know non-Americans, and aside from the accent, I can't tell them apart.

    Anyway, whenever you buy anything from abroad, you are contributing to the economy of the source country, and that may or may not come back to bite you. That's how trade works, and the internet won't necessarily change matters.

    Besides, if there was one world govenrment, there wouldn't be such thing as Mexico invading the US or Russia bombing Chechnia...

  • Move to North Dakota... we respect individual choice so much that there is no voter registration. At all. Once you get into the voting booth, you can vote for damn well whoever you please.
  • Both of your examples seemed to be of public schools, that took money from private corportations. In which I'd be willing to bet the parents at those schools had absolutly no resource to what the school did (except maby legally)

    No recourse? Hmm. Well, I don't know how authority is divided up in the American school system, but here in Quebec (Canada -- it's a provincial ministry) school boards are comprised of "officials" elected by the schools' parents. It works much like political representation. If it works the same way in Georgia, had the school board officials' "constituents" objected to that unbelievable "Coke" stunt, they certainly would have had the authority to prevent it, and severely reprimand whoever was responsible for suspending the kid with the Pepsi shirt.

    The problem, of course, is that voter turn-out to school board elections is miserably low. You could argue that in the "free market" system, people would be more likely to exercise their prerogative by changing schools, which may be true. But that wouldn't be very convienient in the middle of the school year, not to mention the psychological impact on the kid due to being shuffled between schools every time their parents deemed something sufficiently objectionable. And what about the more insidious influences, such as biased learning materials, consumerist propaganda, etc. ?

    In any case, in the current system parents certainly have a say in what happens in their kids' school (at least here.)

    Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

  • hmmm, that doesn't look good. He introduced, didn't just vote for, those abominable pieces of legislation. That brings him down two notches in my book. /me thinks I'll be voting for Harry Brown.
  • I respect McCain too. Not only for all the crap he whent through when he was in the war but for his stance on things. Just about every stance he has taken on issues is very close to my stance and I like that finaly one of our polotitions is standing up for our rights on line. Or atleast starting to. I hear time and again about proposed bills that will impose taxes or cut our rights and I think it will do good to have someone shake up congress some and make them see that us net freaks have rights too and that the net is not just another cash cow for them. And i am prowd to say that he is from my state. One of the few legislative types that have come out of my state that are worth anything.
  • The problem I have with your general question, "Can nations exist within a global internet?" is that it's the kind of utopian "One World Government" question that has to be asked in many places, and answered by many peoples.

    No, you are not going to shoehorn in a government-less world through e-commerce. You are not going to take away my right to vote for my representatives in local, state, and national government. Your nihilistic attitude towards government and a bunch of wires draped all over the planet isn't going to end representative government, and the rule of law.

    There is already a reaction to this notion arising all over the place. A utopian notion that "government is just not necessary anymore" basically hands all power over to new and more central than ever before forms of social control. People have that figured out. Try something else or be laughed out of any room you try your intellectual trickery in.
  • If school was run by corporate interests, and there was competition, I'd expect to see significantly higher quality more efficient education than is currently being given. That wouldn't be too hard. Have you been to a public school, any public school, recently?

  • "(ie: vietnam conflict.. it was never a war right.. )"

    Well, if the companies that owned all the rubber plantations in Vietnam owned and controlled the schools, it wouldn't have even been presented as a 'conflict' let alone a 'war.' They certainly didn't consider it a regular war, considering that the US military was forced to compensate them at a considerably higher rate for damaging a rubber tree than they did for the death of an innocent civillian.

    It's all just Good Business(tm). Always has been, and always will be, where private interests are concerned. It's important that it stay that way, just as it's important that clear separations between that and public interests must be maintained.

  • Sounds goood -- except we already tax the far rich more heavily than everyone else. The top 10% of Americans already pay 49% of all federal taxes.

    So, the bottom 90% of Americans are paying for only 51% of the cost of the government.

    See http://www.ncpa.org/~ncpa/oped/bartlett/sept1399.h tml for details. [ncpa.org]
  • Well, Microsoft is proof enough that corporations don't necessarily come up with the best results, even in competitive, free market environments.
  • It's important for some people to bring up Microsoft in as many negative lights as possible on Slashdot, even in discussions where it's irrelevant. This is due to a persecution complex that has set in with certain members of this forum, a malady called Microsoft Hatred(tm). There is a parallel affliction sometimes known as Beowulf Love(tm) which often affects the same individual.

    The only cure is simple and direct, but very difficult for the affected to accept. The temporary quarentine procedure known as Complete Computer Removal(tm) while painful in the short run, often leads to a better, more enlightened world in which the former victim of the disease discovers that indeed the Bill Gates Demon(tm) is not untying his/her shoelaces when s/he is not looking. The cure can lead to an empowering experience known as Responsiblity(tm) though in many cases mom still has to make supper.
  • Why should my taxes, as a non-parent, go to pay for some kid's Jesus-conditioning?

    I agree that the schools have done a fairly poor job in recent decades. It's lead to ignorant people being let loose as adults. People capable of ridiculous statements like "Anything run by the government usually doesn't work."
  • Actually, no.

    The Montana Freemen need there to be a stable, strong economy of regular productive people they can defraud and steal from. Parasites seldom can live without their host.
  • Don't you mean that a bunch of priests want 10%?

    Don't be blasphemous.
  • I honestly have no idea how the school board chooses its members (in florida) I do know we elect the head of it (which for some constant reason is a complete idiot) but I believe the rest of the school board is picked by the school board. Also for some strange reason I tend to have trust the a parent to pick a decent school and stay with it.. though admittenly my parents didn't pick a very good school for me.. but they definatly wouldn't let me out of it (I went to a semi private school it was an experimental school run by Florida State University.. paid by university funds essentially cheap, but you have to be on a waiting list.) Anyways I think I just went off on a tangent, but my point basically is that generally parents know that moving thier kids around is not a good thing, so while there isn't always inital recourse for stupidity like that it does tend to keep away new customers. (Btw the school I went to is now starting to seriously loose students.. personally I'm suprised it took so long, but it was one of the best schools up until the year before I went there, but it got changed from being funded by the university but under private control, to being controled by the dean of the university to his private whims while he never accually stepped foot on the grounds)
  • He goes the other way on that one, go here [loc.gov]
  • The reason to ban internet taxes in the US is quite simple: they won't collect enough to make it worthwhile. People can move their servers to other countries and/or use (anonymous, encrptyed) digital cash solutions. See _Cryptonomicom_ for more information.

    -_Quinn
  • Whoa, slow down. You've taken one line out of context and turned me into Charles Manson. Though your venom is entirely unwarranted, I'll partially blame myself for throwing out a controversial political view in a terse forum such as Slashdot.

    The fact is, our educational system largely is no longer about educating, it's about cash, and to a lesser extent, it's about a leftist political view (One which you seem to share). I worked in a number of public schools for nearly a decade and that's one of the primary reeasons I left. This is a difficult subject to debate in a short space, but those are the basics. Government uses the "Let's do it for the children" argument to pass any lame legislation they have, and folks like yourself seem only too willing buy into it.

    Regarding your other points: 1. I don't measure compassion by how much money the government gives to people. Additionally, the quality of life of the USA's poorest citizens is light years ahead of the poor in virtually any other country. You want to see truly poor people? Go to Haiti or other third world countries and you'll know what poor REALLY is. I'm not saying this is a good thing, only offering some perspective. 2. I'm not sure how the DOI came into this, but following your logic, everything needs to be free. I need a multiprocessor DEC Alpha server to be happy, so the government should get one for me. 3. I doubt I need a logic class, but you need a reading class. I never even so much as inferred that I am the only one who is entitled to anything.

    Since we're way off topic here, I'll stop. And feel free to blame my loving, hardworking parents for my attitude. I do. And I thank God every day for it. See ya.

    -F
    Still proud to be an American
  • Every american pays school taxes, whether they send kids to school or not. Why not let parents use this money to pay for a (mucho better) private or parochial education. If a particular family is soo poor that the can't afford to pay taxes at all, let alone private schools, then the taxes of people without school-aged kids will pick up the slack, and many private institutions will provide financial aide for good students who can't afford it. Anything run by the government usually doesn't work, including public schools.
  • It is meaningless for Congress to pass a law banning Internet taxes. When the day comes that they /want/ to tax the net, they need merely pass another law permitting it.
  • There are plenty of non-church associated schools out there. second of all, you wouldn't be paying for Jesus-coditioning, you would be paying for a real education. Frankly, I would like to not pay taxes too, but, well, it just can't be that way.

    And most governent agencies are quite inefficient, except when it comes to brainwashing the public, wasting your tax dollars, and stripping you of your constitutuional freedoms.

    So, really, you either care about your freedoms, or you don't. You either care about you kids/nieces-nephews/neighbors kids, futures or you don't but please, in the future, think before you flame.
  • Did you listen to the same interview as I did?

    Actually I think I've heard a different interview than the other people on slashdot. He was on Talk of the Nation about a week ago-- it's a different program than the other slashdotters are talking about. If he was interviewed more than once I guess NPR really likes him. I wasn't impressed by him in the interview I heard but I'll take a look at his web page anyway-- I doubt he could be any WORSE than the current candidates.

  • Yeah, I like the idea of a federal sales tax, and a state sales tax on all transactions. That's it.

    No other taxes. No taxes on income, etc. That way, we can see exactly how much we're taxed, and we can fight specific things that will raise or lower taxes for everyone.

    Anyone have any comments? I like this much better than our current system.

    The again, will it ever happen? Probably not.
  • while there isn't always inital recourse for stupidity like that it does tend to keep away new customers. (Btw the school I went to is now starting to seriously loose students..

    So really, in a "free market" school system the only way parents would have more choice was if there were more schools to choose from -- since "keeping away new customers" works in both systems. How likely is this? The people with little choice now are in locations where the population density is low enough that not choosing the nearest school is unfeasible. Could those be big enough "markets" to sustain competing schools in a "free market" system? I doubt it.

    Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

  • Yep, and the Montana Freemen can probably live without many other government services. So? Not everybody can or should be measured against you.

  • I'm sorry, do I know you? Are you familiar with my personal political affiliation? If not, I'd appreciate you pointing your baseless accusation gun someplace else.

    It doesn't take a genius (or a Democrat) to see that this is just meaningless pandering, not meaningless Republican pandering. As long as people are locked into ant-like conformity with a party label, no meaningful discussion is possible. I'll knock anybody who does stupid stuff, not just people who happen to have the same party affiliation as I do (I'm an independent anyway so it doesn't really matter).
  • My dad always told me that democrats suck (I think it was a democrat that got the us into a war over seas a few decades ago and a republican that got us out). I feel they all suck, but democrats suck more (ala clinton)

    --
  • Wow, went to the site. He's also against affirmative action, against national income tax.. He states that with a national sales tax, we could alter our spending habits to keep money away from the government if we didn't like what they were doing. Interesting proposition.

    However, his stance on homosexual rights leaves something to be desired. I'm not gay, but he really has no right saying what is a proper and moral marriage, and one that isn't. Also, I don't like his position on abortion and euthanasia. His views on religion and the separation of church and state leaves something to be desired.

    Funny, he's against gun control, though.

    Also against sex education? Yeah, let's have MORE ignorant masses that don't know what's going on. There's no need to teach people about things like sex and drugs. Let them be ignorant, and just accept what's on TV and the status quo. Hope you detected the hint of sarcasm in my voice.

    Sorry, Keyes may have some good ideas, but there are too many nits to pick with him for me.

  • Ultimately, the Internet does/will force governments to fundamentally rethink tax policy literally from the ground up. While it is possible to assess issuance of IP addresses and/or domain names, it is not possible, in general, to track how these are used.

    Even the simplest tracking strategy, raw bandwidth use, is problemmatic. A large percentage of net traffic never goes through any of the concentrated access points, and as more private companies expand their networks, this will increase. If they cannot even track bandwidth, they certainly cannot monitor the content of that traffic to a sufficient extent to determine what is commercial and what is not.

    To some extent, they could assess incorporated businesses which ship products ordered over the Internet, but this is just an extension of mail order. And much Internet commerce involves services which are not shipped at all.

    At the moment, only a small percentage of commerce happens on the Internet, as compared with traditional stores, mail and telephone order. But over time, this will certainly increase to a point where a considerable portion is online. And if governments seek to shift the tax burden to non-connected businesses, it will only accelerate this trend.

    Ultimately, taxes on commerce will become impractical altogether. At this point, a return to land assessment will become a very necessary alternative.

    For some economic & political implications of this, you may find some of the following links interesting:

    EarthSharing Homepage [vicnet.net.au]

    Dan Sullivan's essays:
    Real Libertarians and Royal Libertarians [pair.com]
    Greens and Libertarians [pair.com]

  • I didn't realize not wanting to pay for incompetent government services was a selfish and poor attitude. I do know that private schools with similar or lower spending per student have consistently performed better than public schools. Perhaps that's because private schools actually have to show results or they will lose their customers, in contrast to government schools which have a captive audience.

    Maybe you should take a logic class yourself, and learn that it is possible for two groups of people to disagree, without one side being selfish, immoral, or evil.

  • And this bill would not affect those laws, as long as they do not TARGET eCommerce transactions. If they affect EVERYONE, that's fine. If it's just becouse I do it in a web browser, it get's taxed, then I'm moving to Sparta.. ;-P
  • If I never use the highway system or public transportation or public education, then I don't think I should pay taxes for their upkeep. What does the internet have to do with government and its upkeep? Nothing.
  • Why are internet transactions special that they can't be taxed? A sale is a sale is a sale, and adding a 1% sales tax would NOT suddenly devastate the internet economy.
    --JRZ
  • The internet will eventually be taxed, barring a constitutional amendment to stop it. The reasons are simple - if all commerce occurs online, then where will state governments get their funding from?

    I think you misunderstand. AFAIK the Bill would outlaw discriminatory 'net taxes, meaning taxes that apply only because goods were sold over the net. All the usual sales taxes, excise duties, business rates and so on apply just as much for, say, Amazon as for any 'physical' retailer.

    It may become more difficult to raise taxes, but this Bill isn't about abolishing them altogether.

  • If wealth is finite, then reason dictates that there be trillions of dollars in paleolithic wealth. Where are they?

    Oh, but wait -- wealth can be produced now, eh? Then who does the production? Hint: It's normally not the moochers.

    Fine. Make 10 million, then quit. Don't do anything else, don't produce, heck, burn everything you've got. Destroy it all, it's no use to you anyway. Let's seize all the industry and turn the starving masses to work on it. Oh, Joe the Homeless Chap doesn't know how to write a database? Doesn't matter; he needs the job, you don't, and never mind the consequences.

    Go read some Locke.
  • Not to mention his pro-spam bill. McCain serves one master - big business.
  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @12:56PM (#1661543) Homepage Journal
    Sure, he wants to knock off Net taxes. That's a Good Thing, I'd say. The Net is just another form of mail order with even more questionable jurisdiction from a taxation perspective (If I'm in Massachusetts, and I buy from an Oregon company who uses a server farm in Virginia that happens to route the packets to/from my system through NAPs in New Jersey and New York, who the hell gets my tax money???). But McCain is also pro-censorship, and anti-encryption. He's a decent human being, and I really get the impression about him that if he says something, it's because he believes it, not because his advisors told him to - but he's not exactly the most "wired" guy out there. For all his goofyness, Gore really is a little more clueful on things Net, and Bradley isn't bad, either - his Valley time at Stanford the last couple of years seems to have had an impact. But if the bottom line is Net freedom, then vote Libertarian - we're pro-choice on everything!

    - -Josh Turiel
  • That didn't sound like much of an argument to me. "Know how much I'm making = fair". Huh?

    The fact is, sales taxes are flat and represent a much greater burden for lower income folks than for the rich. Income taxes at least have the promise of being progressively assessed. That's why you see so many rich folk who want to do away with income tax. Of course they'd rather fund government at the same rate as the minimum wage worker. (And don't pretend for a minute that the rich use government services any less than the poor. Please.)

  • Well, while I am fairly anti government I will agree that government does have a place to step in, but when and only when the free market system is not working. So far there has been nothing but theories showing free market schooling does not work. In rural areas that you mention, there may be a need for more compitition, which is another thing the government is supposed to support in the free market. But as of now, compition is essentially locked out by the dumping of a free product into the market (hehe sorry been examining the microsoft trial too much latly). So in the rural areas there is already a lock in for public schools but if there was a chance to compitition I can't imagine that to be a bad thing. There just has to be choice, so the public schools should continue to exist (and don't say the public schools would loose money from compitions the public schools get X dollars per student no matter how many students and the schools are overcrowding as it is this would just keep us from wasting money on new buildings and reduce class size)
  • Agreed that taxes exist for legitimate reasons.
    Consider the following as precedents though:
    a) Interstate mail-order is not taxed.
    b) Interstate TV sales are not taxed (a la Infomercials)
    c) Interstate telephone sales (telemarketing) are not taxed.
    d) et. al.
    IMHO, e-commerce is analogous to any of the above, and should be treated accordingly with respect to taxation. What instead appears to be happining is the US Gov't's continuing belief that they control or can legislate the Internet as a whole, and, of course, their desire to get their paws on some of the billions of dollars being transacted.
    The _only_ way I could see taxation on the Internet being supported by precedent is if one purchases goods or services from a company located within one's own state (e.g. "CA residents add $VALUE sales tax")
    -Kishar
    Will they tax my $0.02 as well?
  • But there's no way the Feinsteins and Mikulskis of the world would let this bill pass..

    -jcr
  • by Enoch Root ( 57473 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:04AM (#1661553)
    I dunno. This sounds like a very good idea, but I don't understand what practical purpose it has to do this from a politician's point of view.

    Surely they understand that the Internet is still a growing entity, and that there may exist, at some point, a service which will become an interesting source of revenue.

    So what purpose has a bill that says they'll "never" collect taxes from the Internet? Surely they'll just ratify the law when they see something worthwhile. Permanency in any political system, and moreso in democracy, is rarely an affair that lasts more than a few mandates.

    So; sorry. I'm not opening up the Champagne. It's definitely not a bad news; but it's not good news to me, merely some form of political move to, I dunno, catter to Internet business and users.

    "There is no surer way to ruin a good discussion than to contaminate it with the facts."

  • by YeOldeGnurd ( 14524 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:08AM (#1661581) Homepage Journal
    He was on the NPR program The Connection [wbur.org] this morning promoting his new book [amazon.com].

    You can listen to the show (for the next 2 weeks) here [wbur.org]

    Bravery, Kindness, Clarity, Honesty, Compassion, Generosity

  • by Wah ( 30840 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:11AM (#1661587) Homepage Journal
    I've followed various happenings in the media and congress for some time. It's a tangent that comes from my position (admin for a marketing company for media entities).

    Senator McCain has routinely made decisions that fall in the favor of big business. One recent example is his bill to raise the national coverage limit for TV from 35% to 50% (the amount of the countries viewership any one company can reach). There was also a recent change in ownership of TV stations(which he supported vocally) allowing a duopoly (two station in the same market) that allowed for the recent Viacom/CBS merger (which pairs 200+ radio stations with MTV/VH1 among other things). To sum up, each of his decisions and positions is exactly what these large media companies want. Most of these mergers continue to limit media choices and control viewer eyeballs. If you want a diverse media industry, you don't want McCain.

    I see this bill (which would stand, even if it passed, for no more than 2 years) as an attempt by a Presidential candidate to get his name in the paper (Yes, he is running, and yes, it worked).

    I am also aware of his POW history and the service he has done for this country (US), however I just don't trust or agree with his politics.

    my $.02 for you.
  • by Indomitus ( 578 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:11AM (#1661589) Homepage Journal
    A politician who is willing to submit absolutely meaningless legislation during an election cycle! Finally, somebody who has the cajones to pander to the public in such a blatant and intelligence insulting fashion.

    But seriously, this bill has zero chance of passing and if anybody sees it as anything but a cynical attempt to get some extra column inches out of two popular issues, the net and taxes, they need some help.
  • Total Agreement. It takes money to run the world, and it has to come from somewhere.

    There is also the issue that banning net taxes could only benefit the techno-elite. What about all the people that do not have a net connection of any kind or maybe cannot afford one? Why should they get smacked with sales taxes while I don't?

    If they do pass the net ban, then income taxes are going to sky rocket. Right now I live in Texas where there is no state income tax. How does the state get there money? High sales tax.

    I know that I and the rest of my buddies would just love to jump up a tax bracket for the same income.
  • by konstant ( 63560 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:13AM (#1661595)
    Senator McCain is running for president of the United States. He has little to distinguish himself from Bush apart from his harsh stance on campaign finance. The man can't speak spanish, so this will be his gimmick. "Liberate the internet from the oppressive grip of the Feds!" etc.

    I predict several of the major Republican contenders will echo this in the next few weeks. Notably Forbes, who has next to no standing, but who perseveres due to his rich boy's innocence of reality. This is just the sort of thing he adores. Gore will make noises about something similar, but a ban on internet taxes he will not suffer to endure.

    This bill will die in committee. This was the same committee that saw and killed the "teachers and net taxes" bill that was featured on /. a few weeks ago. It also died. However, McCain will be able to use it to prod his competitors regardless of how quickly it dies, and he knows that.


    -konstant
  • by Thomas Charron ( 1485 ) <twaffle@gmaCOMMAil.com minus punct> on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:14AM (#1661598) Homepage
    Ok, so I use my phone to call an ISP in Canada. Who do you tax, eh?

    Or, say, I'm a canadian, buying something Mexican. Who taxes? Which country?

    The Internet is a GLOBAL entity. You can't simply tax it like that. If you begin taxing based on the state the web site is in, they web site will move. The internet HAS no physical boundries.. I can easily host my web site in Norway if I want to.

    Where do you tax?
  • The taxations that this bill would eliminate are sales taxes. This is not the only source of revenue to local and national government. It won't eliminate income taxes (damn), property taxes, tarriffs, capital gains, inhertiance taxes, etc.
  • Ideally, I'd like to see a new internet currency standard develop-- one which is international, untaxable and untraceable.

    Would bring whole new meaning to "Shave and a haircut, six bits"
  • Tax based on the location of the source. If your order from mexico, pay mexican taxes. Buyfrom ohio, pay ohio sales tax.

    Under this model, taxes should stay low. Companies already relocate/expand in the US based on where they can get the cheapest break.

  • If the honorable senator had any guts, he would have introduced a bill to permanently ban the tax on work. Why do not want to tax online transactions?

    The message US tax policy is sending is that work should be discouraged, and consumption, especially via the internet, should be encouraged.

    -jwb

  • Why not just have a flat tax?

    One reason to have sales tax, is to give states money (other than state income tax) Right now our federal gov't uses tax money (such as for roads) as a tether to force states to pass laws. Is this really a good thing? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

    Still trying to figure out why the gov't wants 33%, but God only wants 10%
  • The purpose of bills like this is to win big political points for their author. Now, before we get all huffy about how 'users' out there in non-/. land are soooo stupid, think for a second.

    If, after Sen. McCain announces this bill, a huge outpouring of support from highly vocal and important voters (I think /.ers count as highly vocal, at least) suddenly materializes, you think other politicians won't notice? you think they'll feel more confidant in their pro-internet-tax positions?

    We should strive to reward politicians who say good things as much as we complain about politicians (and even Evil Empires) who do bad things. That's how things get done in this country. It does no good to cynically undermine every halfway-good thing just because it's only halfway.
  • well sleazy politician is redundant, but McCain is one of the better ones, IMO.

    I make my living in the wireless telco world, and McCain seems to be pretty clueful when it comes to whapping the FCC when they stray.

    Plus, he's a Vietnam-era pilot/POW. Just from the bio I've seen on Discovery channel, this guy has a lot going for him. He has a pretty no horse-shit attitude that I find refreshing in national politics.
  • This information is taken from:
    http://www.fms.treas.gov/annualreport/annrpt98.p df

    The official US treasury report for the year of 1998.

    Total taxes recieved by US gov:
    1.721 TRILLION dollars

    Percentage of taxes paid by:
    Social Insurance and Retirment Receipts: 33%
    Individual Income Tax: 48%
    Corporate Income Tax: 11%
    Excise Taxes: 3%
    Other: 5%

    Total amount of cash SPENT by the US Gov in 1998:
    1.651 TRILLION dollars

    Percentage of Spending on:
    Education, Training, and Social Service: 3%
    National Defence: 16%
    Interest on the current debt: 15%
    Healthcare: 8%
    Social Security: 23%
    *Income Security: 14%
    Medicare: 12%
    Other: 9%

    *Income Security contains welfare, unemployment, and disability.

    You can find a lot more detailed info at the address I provided. But that's a general break down of where the money comes from and where it goes. in 1998 there was a small surplus of funds, about 70 billion dollars.

    Looking at this I think we could afford to trim 1 percent of the funding off of everything and add it to paying off the national debt... Or thumb our noses at the debt and turn that 15% into serious Tech research.... We'd have moon colonies in no time if we had .15 of 1.5 trillion dollars...

    Kintanon
  • Still trying to figure out why the gov't wants 33%, but God only wants 10%

    When God needs a toilet for His people, He knows how to buy it wholesale.

  • > If we then invest the money, we're taxed on it (but mainly the interest, that, at least is "new" income), then
    > when we leave it to someone, there is an estate tax levied.

    Two minor nitpicks: first, estate taxes only apply for inheritances over $600,000 (sliding upwards due to the taxpayer reform act of 1997 over the next several years) and does not include the benefits from life insurance policies under certain circumstances, depending who is the owner, insured, and beneficiary of the policy.

    Secondly, there are a great many investment vehicles that are created to minimize tax -- of course, they don't exactly maximize return, but you have to trade the one for the other. If money has been taxed once, it will not be taxed again, unless your financial planner or accountant is just Really Damn Dumb.

    Disclaimer: I do work for a financial-services company and I am a licensed insurance representative (though currently non-selling), but I've forgotten a bunch of my training and don't pretend to be 100% accurate.
  • You missed a few of the more sneaky taxes:

    You get taxed indirectly when you buy something made in the U.S.A. because the corporate tax load is passed on (obviously) to the end consumer.

    Inflating the money supply (inflation) is essentially a tax on the money supply. Your share of the "inflation tax" is proportional to the share of the money supply you hold.

    Your pay a tax on real property you own. If you rent, of course, the tax is passed on to you, as in the example above. Does this mean we don't actually own real property but instead rent it from the government?

    I'm sure we missed a few ...

    I remember a tax scheme in New York back in the BBS days where you would be taxed based on the "value" of shareware you downloaded(!) It was a sales tax on bits, essentially, with the value being purely arbitrary. Scary. It got flamed so badly it went away in record time.
  • We need taxes to support things like the highway system, public transportation, and public education.

    Yes but do we need these things to be publicly funded? Often highly inefficient IMVAO

    Hell yes! Are you seriously suggesting privately funded education? ("Welcome to MSClassroom 1.0, I'm your teacher Mrs. Vendu. Please take your seats. crrreeeeeaaaakk... Seats and desks all collapse, maiming most of the 200-student class)

    In all seriousness, there are some things that private interests should not be allowed to do; education is definitely one of them. It's bad enough as it is. [qlsi.com] See also here [southwind.net] and here [igc.org] for a few more examples.

    I don't know about money for highways, but I do like to be able to use public transit (relatively) cheaply. Both of these, however, pale in comparison to the importance of keeping advertising out of education. Is anyone else thinking of Huxley's Brave New World here?

    Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

  • Yep.. Do you see any MAIL ORDER specific taxes out there? This isn;t ABOUT local sales tax, etc.. It's about taxing Internet based transactions SPECIFICALLY..
  • !WARNING -- RANT!

    Did you listen to the same interview as I did?
    He is the only candidate to give direct and
    thoughtful answers to every meaningful question I
    have heard asked of him. He admits his mistakes,
    and bases his acts on convictions and logic rather
    than popular polling. He is the diametrical
    opposite of the Bush/Gore collective, and most
    importantly, he is a honorable man in a system
    where there are few.

    If you want someone to do something about the
    rampant pollitcal corruption, vote for McCain. If
    you want someone to keep the internet (and
    country) free of idiotic laws that protect law
    enforcement and steal our rights, vote McCain.
    If you want a president who doesn't change
    oppinion based on wind velocity, and doesn't
    ignore his concious just to get votes, vote for
    McCain.

    On the other hand, if you want to have dauntingly
    idiotic laws imposed on your freedom, vote for the
    Bush/Gore collective. (It doesn't matter which
    one, as they are the same.)

    I am sorry to rant about this, but I urge all of
    you to take a look at McCain [mccain2000.com].
    You won't agree with all his views (I know I
    don't), but that is not the point. He possesses
    the two qualities that have been missing in the
    Oval Office for many years: Hardened Integrity,
    and a sence of constitutional duty. (IE, he is
    not out just to be popular, and he doesn;t view
    the constitution as an annoying obstacle.)

    Now I must stop before my enthusiasm gets the best
    of me. (Yes, real enthusiasm for a Presidential
    candidiate. I haven;t felt that in a LONG time.)

  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Friday September 24, 1999 @09:56AM (#1661669)
    Nope! Let the riders pay their fair share.

    I just want to make sure that we are on the same page. You want the riders of public transit to pay their fair share. That seems reasonable. No public transit system in the US makes an operating profit. They are all subsidized by the taxpayer in some way or another. I agree with you that the transit user should pay their share.

    It follows from your philosophy that car drivers should pay their fair share, also. The fair share should include:

    • The cost of building roads, highways, tunnels, and bridges
    • The cost of pollution due to automobile exhaust, tire wear, fluid leakage, etc.
    • The cost of health care for those involved in automobile accidents
    • The true cost of publically subsidized real-estate purchases in the form of parking spaces and right-of-way
    • The cost of traffic law enforcement, parking meter patrol, curb painting, etc.

    All in all I think this is a great idea. Car drivers should pay their fair share, as should public transit riders. And my tax money shouldn't go to subsidize either one of them.

    -jwb

  • Realy now, do you *really* think that a government (especially the crappy, inneficient, US government) could possibly do anything *better* than a corporation would do it in a compeditive, free market, enviornment?

    Define "better". If you mean could they graduate a kid from grade 12 having spent less money, then no, probably not.

    But that's not what I'm addressing: it's what the kid has learned at the end of those years that's much, much more important (to me anyways). Would you trust the lowest bidder (especially one with other interests) to teach impartial, accurate information?

    I for one would not.

    Steve 'Nephtes' Freeland | Okay, so maybe I'm a tiny itty

  • Agreed.

    There is no way allowing business (or even worse, corporations) to fund education will do anything good. If you have schools paid for by big business, then big business gets to decide what's important to teach.

    Heck...you'd think that paranoia-ladden slashdot-ites would realize that if business funded education any more than they already do, we'd already have lost the Linux vs. Microsoft war....because we'd all have been brainwashed since birth.

  • Gasoline taxes don't cover the cost it takes to keep the roads in good condition, (especially here in Minnesota). You driving you car on public roads are highly subsidized - why shouldn't public transportation be also?

    The better the public transportation system, the more people use it. The more people use it, the more efficient it is. And it cuts down on other costs as well.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 1999 @10:56AM (#1661701)
    Right now I live in Texas where there is no state income tax. How does the state get their money? High sales tax.

    Nope. Through state-owned oil wells. That's what makes Texas's "no income tax policy" possible. Having lived in Texas and moved to New York, the state sales tax in Texas is essentially the same, and New Yorkers additionally have a substantial state income tax.

    You should thank your lucky stars you're livin' in Texas.

  • He's got some skeletons (IMHO as far as internet privacy and censorship are concerned) in his legislative closet

    On the other hand, he apparently does have a good privacy policy on his campaign site:

    Presidential Candidates Privacy Policies [cdt.org]

    If only we could read their minds before deciding who to vote for...

  • Yes, but if you take any basic American History class you will learn that states back in the Confederation (I'm talking post revolutionary war confederation and not civil war confeseration for those of you who don't know history) used to tax eachothers goods at will. And while I don't know exactly where the constitution states this, or how I do know that in its drafting they made a point to the fact that they didn't want states to be taxing eachothers goods. The congress had the right to change such a law but the point of the law is to keep our nations economy as a whole instead of seperated like most countries. (its generally seen that countries that do not tax eachothers trades tend to have economies that run together and act upon eachother more so than states that do tax)
  • Well accually any tax they do impose upon internet commerce would be also imposed on mail order commerce, as legally speaking its the same thing. The difference is that while we have had mail order for many many years it has never been in much mass so therefor the states didn't worry so much. Now that it is SO easy and in such abundance the states are worrying. So yes, it is the same thing, just the easy of use has changed therfor the demand for as such as increased, freightening the states.

If you can't understand it, it is intuitively obvious.

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