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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, May 06, 2013

U.S. Senate to Vote Today On Internet Sales Tax Bill

Update 6:12 PM - U.S Senate voted 69-27 to pass another tax hike bill - the Internet Sales Tax. Instead of curbing spending, they have decided that raising taxes on the Internet sales. Grover Norquist commented: "The bill aims to enforce a sales and use tax on businesses that rely on the Internet to reach their customers. While the specifics of the bill are about as long as Obamacare, here are the top three problems with the Internet sales tax:
  • Online businesses would be responsible for collecting and filing their sales tax from customers that don’t reside in their state.
  • Businesses would be forced to use software that will generate a database to keep track of their tax paying customers. This also puts their customers at risk should the database be hacked, spilling millions of sensitive information records into the wrong hands.,/li>
  • States might no longer seek to lower their taxes for business friendly environments. They’d be encouraged to raise their taxes in order to collect tax money from other states, thus hurting potential business development.
If you’re scratching your head wondering how the Senate has managed to support a bill that could put a halt to business development, increases taxes, and further regulates our last free market, the Internet, we are too. This is a poorly written bill whose future consequences have not been thoroughly thought out yet. We are disappointed that the Senate and the people we have elected to represent us would consider such a poorly thought out piece of legislation. Now our only chance is to stop this legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives."
------------------
Today in Washington, D.C. - May 6, 2013 The Senate resumes consideration of S. 743, the Internet sales tax bill and begin a series of 3 roll call votes. First will be a vote on a managers’ amendment to S. 743 and then a vote on final passage of S. 743. They will then vote on cloture on the motion to proceed to (i.e. whether to take up) S. 601, the Water Resources Development Act of 2013.

 The House reconvened and will take up and vote on several basic bills regarding monuments and basic tribal and land transfers.  Will report on these bills after being voted on.

Over the weekend, the reports on the serious problems arising from the implementation of Obamacare and Democrats expressing their anxiety about it continued. Reuters reported, “[W]ith ‘Obamacare’ five months from show time, Democrats are worried about whether enough Americans will sign up to make the sweeping healthcare overhaul a success - and what failure might mean for Congress heading into the 2016 presidential race. Some of the law's main advocates fear that not enough of America's 49 million uninsured will know about health coverage offered in their own states. Even if they do, new insurance plans may not be attractive to young, healthy consumers needed to offset an expected influx of older and sicker patients. . . . Reform is facing challenges on several fronts. Big insurers appear wary of participating, raising questions about how competitive the exchanges will be. Businesses are mounting a new legal effort to stop the use of federal subsidies in exchanges run by Washington. And most states have balked at the exchanges and the Medicaid expansion.” Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported, “Employers are putting increasing pressure on lawmakers to peel back a piece of the federal health-care law that requires firms provide insurance to employees working 30 hours a week or more. . . . [E]mployers including cities, state agencies and charities have joined restaurants and retailers in paring workers' hours to avoid having to provide these workers insurance or pay a fee starting next year. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers must provide health insurance to employees working an average of 30 hours a week or more. If they don't, the employer faces fees starting at $2,000 per worker annually. . . . A large number of Americans already are working part-time (less than 34 hours a week) even though they'd prefer full-time jobs—7.92 million of them in April, the Labor Department reported Friday.”

So just as Republicans predicted, Obamacare is exceedingly complicated, expensive for states, employers, and the federal government, and is costing jobs and forcing companies to cut back on hours for part-time workers already struggling with an anemic economy.

No wonder Democrats are suddenly so vocally anxious about the health care law they championed. As Reuters notes, “There is reason to be very concerned about what's going to happen with young people. If their (insurance) premiums shoot up, I can tell you, that is going to wash into the United States Senate in a hurry,’ said Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat. Some Democrats are frustrated about the lack of details surrounding administration plans to promote the exchanges. Senator Max Baucus, a chief architect of the reform law, said federal outreach efforts deserve a failing grade so far and could be heading for a ‘huge train wreck.’ He criticized Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for the scant information her department has provided.”

Sen. Wyden joins Sen. Baucus, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) in fretting about Obamacare’s implementation

Reuters adds another reason for Democrats to be concerned. “While Obama and his administration say they are working nonstop on reform, analysts believe a poor performance could make the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a big enough campaign issue in 2014 to jeopardize Democratic control of the Senate - particularly if insurance costs rise sharply. . . . Analysts say reform could be as big an issue in next year's congressional midterm elections as it was in 2010, when dislike for the law among senior citizens helped install a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. This time, failed implementation could end Democratic hopes of recapturing the House and leave enough Senate Democrats vulnerable to give Republicans an edge in that chamber. ‘We have to see how bad it is. This issue blowing up on Democrats would make the Republicans' job a lot easier,’ said Jennifer Duffy of the Cook Political Report.”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in an op-ed last week, “Higher premiums, lost jobs, burdensome compliance costs - all these things were entirely predictable and widely expected, which is why not a single Republican in Congress voted for the law and public support hasn't risen above 50 percent in the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll. Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for the health-care ‘train wreck’ that's about to be inflicted upon hardworking Americans. The fact is, Obamacare needs to be repealed. Those who wrote this law in private now have an obligation to own up to its consequences in a very public fashion.
Rather than look for scapegoats at the White House or blame bureaucrats at the Department of Health and Human Services, the men and women who argued so loudly in favor of this bill in the face of overwhelming evidence of its dangers should now either explain what's coming or join Republicans in repealing it.”


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