reprinted from SIGHTINGS
You probably won't hear White House mouthpiece Joe Lockhart bragging about this one.
But be warned. The Clinton administration has taken sides in the debate over whether to tax the Internet. And, as is its pattern, the White House has chosen the wrong side.
As it stands now, the U.S. Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce is one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed before making a recommendation to Congress to extend the current moratorium on taxation of Internet access charges for five years and to === urge states to develop a uniform approach to the issue of sales taxes.
This is hardly a radical plan. A better one would be for Congress to use its constitutional authority to regulate interstate commerce and prohibit any sales tax on the Internet.
Why? Lots of reasons. I believe you should never let the government expand its claim on your wealth -- certainly not when it already taxes us in so many other ways. Is a sales tax better than an income tax? Sure. But let's eliminate the income tax before we add other confiscatory, wealth-redistributing schemes.
The Internet is driving the U.S. economy right now. It will continue to do so for many years -- unless commerce on the Internet becomes as cumbersome, regulated and over-taxed as the old economy.
Also, Internet commerce doesn't require government infrastructure to support it. Roads, fire department services, garbage collection, parking lots, etc. are just unnecessary on the information superhighway. Think of how many people are no longer commuting -- either as customers or employees -- due to the Internet. It would be unfair and unwise to tax a more efficient form of doing business -- and one which is far less taxing of our environment.
Looked at this way, taxing the Internet amounts to a government subsidy of business that wastes resources and pollutes the environment.
Furthermore, the Internet has resulted in the freest exchange of ideas, information, goods and services among the peoples of the world in history.
First and foremost, this is a freedom issue. If the government is permitted to tax the Net, it will be allowed to regulate the Net. More important than all the commerce taking place in this new medium is the way it is transforming the way people access information.
And, knowing the character of the Clinton administration, perhaps that is why it is opposing this modest compromise proposal by the commission in a bid, once again, to reach deep into your pocketbook.
You see, Clinton appointed three members of the 19-member commission. And guess how they are expected to vote?
"We have been given the clear signal that, as things currently stand, the administration will not support any proposal that does not recommend that Congress allow the states to mandate the collection of sales taxes on electronic commerce," says Dean Andal, a member of the commission. "Such a position, if implemented, would amount to the largest consumer tax increase in history. At a time when state and federal tax coffers are overflowing, and when the vast majority of Americans are opposed to such taxes, is such a suggestion good public policy?"
"So, what do we do about this, Farah?" you ask.
I'll tell you.
There is one organization dedicated to fighting any form of Internet taxation tooth and nail. And that organization is WorldNetDaily.com. This news-gathering company has blazed the trail on this issue of monumental importance to every company doing business on the World Wide Web.
No, Microsoft hasn't joined this fight. Netscape hasn't signed on as an ally. We haven't heard from Amazon.com, nor Yahoo! The big guys have decided they will survive the imposition of new taxes. They are not threatened by it -- or so they believe. They'll cut their own deals with government. That's the way they play the game.
But for the new entrepreneurs on the Internet -- those of us who see it as a bold new frontier that can be used to enlighten people, make them freer, empower them -- this is the fight of our lives.
I will be going to Washington in the next few weeks to make the case against Internet taxation -- now and forever.
If you want to provide me with the tools I need to get the job done, please sign WorldNetDaily's online "Don't Tax the Net" petition right now.
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