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Tech at Night: Darrell Issa gets clever against SOPA, Internet Sales Tax looms

Tech at Night

Lamar Smith, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is using his committee to further his bill, SOPA. SOPA is very bad. It threatens due process and prior restraint of speech as it censors the Internet, and risks putting Internet-based business out of business.

Darrell Issa is leading House efforts to oppose SOPA. He’s on the Judiciary Committee, but he’s not in charge. However he does head the Oversight Committee. So guess what? Oversight is looking into the effects of DNS filtering, which is one of the more egregious provisions of SOPA. Nice play, Mr. Issa.

I love it when a conservative gets clever, because I hate that Republicans are looking to give more tools to the already out of control Obama regulators.

Here we go again with national Internet sales taxation. Nikki Haley has joined Haley Barbour in voicing support for a Congressionally approved interstate compact to apply sales taxes to interstate purchases. “Fairness” is the word that keeps being used, but it has nothing to do with fairness. Advertised prices by local retailers don’t include sales tax, so if online retailers are beating them, sales tax has nothing to do with it. Further, pushy sales pitches, ignorant salespeople, inferior selection, and a proliferation of used merchanidise have nothing to do with sales taxes, either.

No, these tax pushes are all about raising taxes without appearing to raise taxes. Especially for conservative governors like Haley and Barbour, that’s an attractive proposition. In the budget it looks like new revenue for free, which saves a state from having to make political decisions on what spending to cut.

Once we get a compact going on sales taxes, we’re one short step away from a true national sales tax. Even just half of a percent. Half a penny, For The Children™. Or To Combat Terrorism™. Or for whatever other reason. And once it’s there, it’ll be hard to get rid of, and run the risk of growth.

Leave interstate commerce untouched, I say. It’s a clear and defensible line in the sand against a Canada-style HST.

Some of us just don’t put information into Facebook if we don’t like how Facebook operates. Others use it to try to expand government. I guess personal responsibility is just too much to ask of some people.

Free markets frighten and confuse Senators. I don’t think Maine should be in the top three priorities for any given primary year, but whining like this makes it hard to say Olympia Snowe shouldn’t be on the list somewhere when her time comes.

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