And one or two things we do...
Note: This first appeared in Human Events.
For its part, the federal government year-round adheres to very little it promises. Except when it promises to spend a ton of money, waste a humongous percentage thereof and tax and regulate us into oblivion. All the while ludicrously claiming to be more cautious, prudent and austere than can possibly be imagined – or endured.
DC is Do-ing far, far too much. We need them to focus a whole lot more on Don’ts.
We Don’t Need More Spending
Our 2013 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $15.7 trillion. Which means the federal government spent 22.3% of what every man, woman and working minor combined produced.
DC is engaged in inconceivably gross over-spending. We don’t need more.
We Don’t Need More Taxes
DC’s answer to all of this additional spending? Higher taxes, of course.
Revenue to the Treasury in 2008 was $2.7 trillion. In 2013 it was $2.8 trillion. If we hadn’t under this President increased spending so dramatically, we would have accrued virtually no debt – instead, we added more than $6 trillion.
Yet anyone who discusses spending reductions is attacked, and dismissed. Instead, the DC Tax Man Cometh – yet again, from a million different directions.
ObamaCare will in 2014 add a whole slew of new taxes. To go with the taxes it’s already imposed and raised. The Congressman Paul Ryan-Senator Patty Murray budget deal increases many taxes “user fees.”
USF coin funds amongst other things the incredibly wasteful ObamaPhone program. And the incredibly wasteful E-Rate program. Thankfully, DC is on top of the latter:
Well, that hearing was in 2004.
Wait – that one was in 2005.
That was in 2009.
That is from August 2013. My concern is that the DC definition of “modernizing” is upgrading the way they waste.
DC doesn’t actually address the waste, fraud and abuse. They just discuss it over and over and over again – all the while the waste and the rate hikes continue unabated.
And here are but some of the myriad other federal (in addition to the state and local) taxes on ...:
Federal Subscriber Line Charge
Access Recovery Charge
Carrier Cost Recovery Charge
And until recently, there was this:
…(T)he Federal Excise Tax. Dating back to the late 1800s, this 3 percent tax was intended originally to help fund the Spanish-American War. Extended in 1965 to help subsidize long-distance calls (back when Ma Bell was the only game in town), this archaic tax raised the ire of consumer groups, lawmakers, and even cellular carriers themselves, for years.
But in August 2006, the federal government said it would no longer collect the tax. The tax will continue to apply to local landline phone service, however.
For nearly seventy years, the federal government taxed each of our phones 3% every month. To pay for the Spanish-American War – which took place in 1898 and lasted four months. After seventy years, they stopped taxing us for the four-month war – and dumped the coin into the Tech income-redistribution pool (which is actually more of an ocean).
There is even absurd bipartisan DC support for the absurdly named Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA). Which would allow states to sales-tax businesses that aren’t located in those states – taxation without representation on stilts.
DC doesn’t have a revenue problem – it has a spending problem. Please – no new taxes “revenues.” I mean, besides the “revenues” already raised by ObamaCare. And the budget deal. And the new year expiration of some tax credits – which junk up and overly-complicate the tax code and oft pick losers-at-the-expense-of-winners (like for wind power, in this instance).
DC instead needs to do some things to stop themselves (and other governments) from taxing us even more. For instance, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITA – like the bread, only much better). Which:
Amends the Internet Tax Freedom Act to make permanent the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.
PITA bans states from applying to broadband service many of the ridiculous wired/wireless phone taxes (some described above). And it limits to one the number of states that can tax an Internet transaction – and prevents that rate from being higher than on other sales.
Like the tax-the-Internet-into-oblivion MFA, PITA is bipartisan – the House bill is co-sponsored by 46 Republicans and 20 Democrats. Unlike the MFA (42 Democrats and 24 Republicans), it is much less tax-everything-into-oblivion Democrat-heavy.
Passing PITA would go a long way towards protecting from government pocket-picking the free-speech, free-market Xanadu that is the World Wide Web.
Amongst a huge list of New Year DC Don’ts – PITA is something it should definitely Do.