Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Issues
Yesterday, Democrat Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) introduced the Armor Piercing Bullets Act, a bill that would ban the M855 “Green tipped” ammunition commonly used in AR-15 rifles. Engel’s bill is based upon the proposed ban of the M855 round in February by the ATF.
The workaround proposed by the ATF follows this line of reasoning:
Under the 1986 Officer protection Act the M855 ammunition is legal. The reason the ATF is proposing to ban M855 ammunition is because of the AR-15 pistol, claiming that the appearance of the AR-15 pistol makes the M855 ammunition more likely to be used to attack a police officer.
By leaping to several conclusions, the ATF decided to come up with their own interpretation of the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act of 1986. Because of their interpretation, they feel justified in preemptively banned types of ammunition for legal weapons.
This is just one more example of the Obama Administration allowing appointed bureaucracies to try and set precedent and interpret law instead of working through the legislative process.
Many European countries now under onerous gun control laws and civilians cannot own military caliber weapons because they started down this slippery slope years ago.
Some will argue that the Founders did not envision every American owning an AR-15. We would argue in return that they did and that the musket and rifles of their day were AR-15s. Their original intent was twofold: an armed citizenry constrained government and those inside it who wished to abuse power and an armed citizenry was a ready made army ready to leap to the defense of their country.
So what are the three best ways we can fight for our 2nd Amendment rights?
1. Call your Representative. The Democrats have filed a bill in Congress to outlaw M855 ammunition because they realize their ban by bureaucracy is failing. Make sure your representative knows to vote against this bill. To reach your representative, call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.
2. Call your Senators (also at 202-224-3121). Obama has appointed Loretta Lynch to be Attorney General and the Senate is set to vote on her confirmation either this week or next. Eric Holder showed himself to be ineffective and willing to push Obama’s anti-gun agenda, and Loretta Lynch will be pushing the same restrictive gun policies that Obama and the Democrats are interested in.
3. Stop giving money to groups that endorse and fund bad politicians. The Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch is going to be a close vote and groups like the National Rifle Association have endorsed and given money to Democrats like Senator Harry Reid and others, not based on principle, but for access. For many gun owners who are under the impression that the NRA represents them, we think it is time for reflection. How can a group that knowingly endorses Democrats, who they know will vote for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as leadership, who in turn actively work against the 2nd Amendment, claim to fight for the 2nd Amendment? Their very arguments are undermined by their actions.
4. Republican leadership in both chambers is, again, absent from this fight. Speaker John Boehner’s name is glaringly not on the letter sent to ATF Director Todd Jones regarding the banning of M855. As “leadership” Boehner and McConnell should have been leading this push back against an overreaching bureaucracy. They are not.
Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
For those that have missed the memo, we here at the Madison Project love being agitators for freedom.
We want to hold elected officials accountable even as we work to elect better and better Members of Congress. We work to advance conservatism as frequently and as purely as possible, be it reducing taxes, ending abortion or working towards dismantling Obamacare.
So it is no surprise that over the past 10 years as Madison Project has brought to the public’s attention the voting record of Democrats and Republicans, we have been attacked by both parties.
The usual GOP talking points against the Madison Project (and Senate Conservatives Fund, the Club for Growth and Heritage Action) is that the Madison Project is “hurting the party” and forming “circular firing squads” that are “not helpful” to the GOP majority. By hurting the party, what the GOP Establishment is saying is, “You’re hurting our chances to advance the issues important to corporations and their lobbyists by calling us out and electing conservatives.”
If our work is hurting this current iteration of the Republican Party, count us in.
As we have said in the past, it is we and our conservative allies who actually represent and work towards the principles and ideology which the GOP claims to represent and advance. We are the free market conservatives who believe in liberty and reducing government, not growing it and giving corporations a leg up on the backs of the American taxpayers.
Over the last few election cycles, it is the Madison Project that has helped add some of the most stalwart conservatives in both chambers of Congress: Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, Congressman Jim Bridenstine, Mark Meadows, Ron DeSantis, Tim Huelskamp, Dave Brat, Jody Hice and many others.
Conservative grassroots activists worked overtime last fall to elect a Republican majority on promises of rolling back Obamacare and stopping illegal immigration.
Now sitting under Republican majorities, these promises have not only been vacated but actually reversed where we’ve seen Republican leaders working with Democrats to actually help to enact these dangerous policies.
For years we have warned that it’s not just about having a Republican majority in both chambers. It’s about having conservatives eager to fight and advance the Republican Party platform. It’s not just a vote, it’s a voice.
The recently passed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill is the perfect example. The House of Representatives passed a good bill, replete with riders that stripped funding for Obama’s executive amnesty order and sent it to the Senate.
The Senate, under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “leadership” stripped the riders from the bill and sent it back to the House.
Here is where it should have been easy: Boehner and the House Republicans should have stripped the bad language out, put the conservative language back in, and sent it back to McConnell.
Instead, 100% of House Democrats and 75 Republicans, including the Speaker, and most of “leadership” and members with all-important seniority, voted to fund executive amnesty behind the fig leaf of, “If we don’t, the Department of Homeland Security will shut down and we will be totally exposed to terrorism.” Nothing could have been further from the truth.
The simple workaround would have been to pass a continuing resolution that would have fully funded DHS while holding the line on amnesty. It is now abundantly clear to everyone that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell never intended to fight amnesty. After all, their friends on K Street and at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce were pushing for it.
If this doesn’t make it abundantly clear that it is time for new leadership, we’re not sure what will.
Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
It’s time for a third party.
That’s what 60% of Americans say according to the September 2014 Gallup poll. Why? Because more and more Americans see little difference between the Democrats and Republicans.
We have noted many times on this blog and in the press that the “game” being played in Washington, DC is rigged. It’s as if we’re watching the Harlem Globetrotters (the Democrats) and the Washington Generals (the Republicans) play a basketball game where the outcome was decided in the locker room. The game is over before it even started.
It goes something like this:
Harry Reid: Here’s what we’re really going to get accomplished today in Washington, DC. We’re going to protect Obama’s amnesty for the sake of optics and Mitch, you’re going to tell your corporate buddies we did this one for them and they need to keep the PAC checks coming.
Mitch McConnell: You got it, Harry. Nice eye patch, by the way. Looks good on you. Kind of got that pirate swagger thing going.
Harry Reid: Right back at you, Mitch. That’s a great nickname, btw. Darth Vader. Where do your folks come up with stuff like that? I just get the boxer references all the time. They’re not bad, but. . .Darth Vader. It’s got some zip to it. Hey, has anyone seen Boehner? That guy is always disappearing at the worst times.
Voice from the back of the room: He’s out for a smoke break.
Harry Reid: And right before game time. I told him to knock that crap off. It’s bad optics. That and that tanning business. Who does that these days?!
Staffer (popping into the room): 5 minutes until go time!
Harry Reid: Right, okay. Back on track. Everyone in. Remember. The goal of today’s game is to really show our supporters and donors that we’re fighting for them. Gotta be a great show, let’s keep it close until the buzzer and then we’ll win. So, everyone in. On the count of three we shout, “Team.”
Mitch McConnell: Wait a second. You always lead the huddle cheer, Harry, and you guys always win. It’s my turn today. I’m the Majority Leader after all.
Harry Reid: Riiiight. Like I said, we’re going to put on a good show for folks out there today. Down to the buzzer. Everyone in. On three we shout, “Team!”
Mitch McConnell: Wait a second, wait a second. Which team are we shouting, “Team” for? Yours or mine, Harry?
Harry Reid: Ours, Mitch. Ours.
Mitch McConnell: Ok, got it.
And out they go to face the press day in and day out to prove that they are really fighting for their voters.
But are they?
Clearly, the Democrats have a case to make that they are holding up their end of their campaign promises. Ramming Obamacare through? Check. Destroying border security for La Raza and others? Check. Passing motor voter laws and defeating Voter ID laws? Check.
And while the Democrats are creating seismic change with their actions, change that will affect America for generations to come, the Republicans are touting the “job creating” Keystone Pipeline (it is projected to create 30,000 jobs at a time when over 100 million working age Americans are jobless.), the “Firing of Harry Reid” (for why this didn’t and doesn’t matter, see above) and tweaking Obamacare, not repealing it in toto.
The Republicans are empty suits, intent on staying in power when really only the vestige of it is in reach for this current crop of would be leaders.
So what are the conservative grassroots to do? Abandon the Republican Party?
The temptation is real.
Until we are reminded of principled fighters like Congressmen Jim Bridenstine and Tim Huelskamp and Jim Jordan and other conservatives in the United States House of Representatives, many of whom were elected over the last three election cycles.
Are they winning? In one sense, yes. They defeated the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. Did they beat back funding of amnesty in the DHS bill? No, but they forced John Boehner and Mitch McConnell to show their true colors. Those two wanted amnesty just as badly as Harry Reid and the Democrats did, just for different reasons. But given the results of November, both of them had to put up the appearance of a fight.
Now that the Boehner and McConnell have had to show their cards, it is more clear than ever that conservatives have a chance to resume control of their party. We believe the Gallup poll above indicates that the American people want a clear difference in Washington, DC and that they want elected officials who work for them, not special interest groups who do not have their best interests in mind.
So instead of talking about creating a third party, conservatives need to refocus, prepare for 2016 and help elect more like Jim Bridenstine, Tim Huelskamp and Jim Jordan.
We can still win.
Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
Yesterday was probably one of the biggest votes this Congress will take over the next two years. After winning a majority on “We will stop Obama and his policies at all costs!” the GOP Establishment pivoted to where we knew they were all along.
They didn’t have a problem with Obama’s executive amnesty language inserted into the DHS funding bill. Not when it happened and not now. In fact, as cozy as they are with K Street, the Chamber of Commerce and other big business entities that line their election coffers with lobbyist checks, they wanted to help their friends out (the corporate ones who want amnesty for cheap labor, not the ones who got them elected).
So in spite of the conservative grassroots and their campaign promises, they stripped the DHS funding bill of any riders or language that would eliminate Obama’s amnesty and rammed it through both the Senate and the House with across the board Democrat support, all the while trying to drive the narrative that a “small group of conservatives” were bucking GOP leadership.
Since when is 31 out of 54 GOP Senators a “small group”? Or the 167 GOP House members that voted against the bill-how can that be defined as “small?”
By our non-Common Core math, both of those “small groups” are significantly above 50%.
In the case of the House, the GOP majority is 248; so in reality the 75 GOP Members that voted with John Boehner (a number significantly under 50% for those of you keeping score) represent the small group.
So what is the problem in Washington, DC with these newly minted GOP majorities?
We venture to guess that their leadership is from a by-gone era unused to a conservative movement that is discontent with the thought of just helping the GOP win during election season and leaving the governing up to them.
They have, in fact, grown up politically in an era where they relied on the conservative grassroots to help them win and their K Street/corporate friends to help them govern. Now that the dynamic is changing and conservatives want to dictate policy, they are trying to buck the new reality.
However, this is a generational shift. It cannot be bucked and the clock cannot be turned back.
As the GOP leadership targets their own conservative Members with the help of pro-amnesty groups like the American Action Network, it’s clear that instead of reading the tea leaves correctly (pun intended) they are creating their own Waterloo.
Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
This article is cross posted from Daniel Horowitz’s column at www.ConservativeReview.com
The GOP Establishment’s Politics of Fear Turns Touchdowns into Interceptions
By: Daniel Horowitz | March 4th, 2015
Republicans have always been driven to sell out their principles based on unfounded and irrational fear of outcomes. However, since winning the 2014 midterm elections, they have taken this irrational fear to a new level. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal even calls it post-election stress syndrome.
During the ‘90s, with a popular president in the White House and a soaring economy, Republicans had more courage to challenge a sitting Democrat president than the current generation of GOPers – even though this president is extremely radical, reckless, lawless, and unpopular. Back in 1995, Republicans were willing to battle the president on budget bills over policy disagreements – with the deficit a fraction of what it is today. Their efforts resulted in welfare reform. Now Republicans are too scared to fight Obama on anything, even on issues where he has exhibited lawless or dangerous behavior, such as amnesty, Obamacare, and Iran.
Amazingly they fail to see, as evidenced by the midterm elections, that the country views this president as anything but mainstream or reasonable in a way that would complicate political brinkmanship against him. According to a new Huffington Post/YouGov poll, less than half of respondents said that Obama loves America. A plurality of voters across a number of demographics in the cross-tabs of the poll, in fact, said that Obama does not love America. We are not exactly dealing with a popularity juggernaut here.
The common refrain from Republicans is “we will get blamed.” And they make sure to shout this bromide from the hilltops for all to hear.
Whereas conservatives view leverage points, such as budget bills, debt ceilings, and the impending Supreme Court case on Obamacare subsidies, as opportunities to be embraced; GOP leadership views them as the plague to be avoided. Yet, worse than avoiding the opportunity to score a touchdown, they preemptively convert those prospects of advancing conservatism into scoring points for the other side.
Nowhere is this more evident than with the GOP’s alacritous public clamor to support Obamacare subsidies in the event that the Supreme Court strikes them down in the 34 states that declined to set up health care exchanges. With the Supreme Court slated to hear oral arguments tomorrow in the King v Burwell case, conservatives are excited about the prospect of a second chance to use the court to strike a death knell to Obamacare. Unfortunately, that is not what will happen if the court strikes down the subsidies.
In a sane world, Republicans would take the opportunity of the potential SCOTUS decision to pin the tail of blame for crushing health care and health insurance costs on the Democrat donkey. If SCOTUS pulls the plug on the Obamacare morphine (the subsidies), everyone would immediately feel the pain of the Obamacare mandates, regulations and interventions that have doubled and tripled premiums for most Americans. And unlike most other issues, Obamacare is exclusively associated with Democrats. We would harness that anger against Obamacare to ensure that any Congressional “fix” granting a temporary continuation of the subsidies is paired with a bill repealing the price-hiking regulations on insurance plans. The messaging for Republicans is quite simple: stop administering the pain (mandates) and we won’t need to administer the morphine (subsidies).
This is not hard to understand. Based on the past few elections, in which Obamacare has been the golden goose for Republican candidates, the American people clearly understand who is to blame for the rising premiums, loss of coverage, and loss of family doctors.
Instead, Republicans have spent the past few months preemptively and unilaterally portending an apocalypse when people lose their subsidies. What’s worse, they are publicly taking on the responsibility for “fixing” it and assuming full culpability for any fallout. To that end, they are making it clear that Republicans must put their stamp of approval on a bill continuing the Obamacare subsidies or replacing them with massive refundable tax credits, thereby enshrining permanent dependency – all with the blessing of the “more conservative” party.
As previously mentioned, most replacement plans fail to pair the subsidies against eliminating the underlying problems – the scope of mandates and regulations of Obamacare. But more importantly, even if Republicans insert some good provisions into their plan, all Obama has to do is just wait them out and they will eventually capitulate. They have created yet another cliff and have emphatically expressed their culpability and ensuing responsibility to pass a bill. Perforce, they will turn the King v Burwell decision into a Republican acquiescence to most of the critical elements in Obamacare.
We will see the same dynamic unfold with a bunch of other deadlines – be it the debt ceiling, highway bill, or reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank. Republicans will agree to the premise of doom in absence of passing a bill and will passionately project the blame on themselves. Then they will propose a liberal bill, albeit with a few good provisions to get conservatives to support the package. But those shiny object reforms are worthless because Republicans have already sent the message to Obama loud and clear that they will blink first. They will never cross a political deadline and will always accept the blame.
The question voters must ask is if Republicans are scared to make a move for fear of reprisal why do they step onto the field in the first place?
Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
This morning, Washington, DC awakened to earth shattering news. Mitch McConnell and team were seriously considering repealing ObamaCare. The process was in place, they were doing due diligence and putting the wheels in motion.
It was show time.
Until the Senate parliamentarian said they couldn’t use the budgetary reconciliation process to dismantle ObamaCare. Like truant school children, the response from Mitch McConnell and team was to hang their heads and say, “Well, we tried to do the right thing. . . .”
That is gist of the story that is in The Hill this morning.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Mitch McConnell has no intention whatsoever of repealing ObamaCare. Now or ever.
If you read the story closely, its apparent that the source of the parliamentarian’s concern are “GOP sources.” Read that as either Senate leadership aide or McConnell staff. As far as anyone knows, the Senate parliamentarian has no concerns regarding using the budgetary reconciliation process to repeal ObamaCare.
Team McConnell would 1) like for you to think that she does and that 2) the parliamentarian’s advice is akin to the Ten Commandments, i.e. carved in stone. Once she speaks, it is settled.
If you have been around DC long enough, the story must be read as a trial balloon from the GOP leadership as it intends to claim that the budgetary reconciliation process is not a legitimate way to dismantle ObamaCare and that “because we don’t have the White House, we’re just going to have to wait to see how 2016 plays out before we can take any serious action against ObamaCare.”
This story is a marker for them to turn to and say, “Look, we tried, but as The Hill reported, it’s just impossible to do.”
This is a manufactured story if ever there was one.
McConnell and team will, of course, trot out the obligatory floor votes for full repeal of ObamaCare and hope the conservative movement seal claps for this shiny object. After all, this is why they won in November-to show people they are serious about getting things done. But the fact of the matter is, full repeal votes are simply show votes that Mitch McConnell and team know have no chance of going anywhere.
Now, for the parliamentarian.
For a moment, let’s say that the parliamentarian does have concerns with using the budgetary reconciliation process to dismantle the ObamaCare. Who is the parliamentarian and what is this person’s role in the Senate?
To begin with, the role of the parliamentarian is simply an advisory one that was established in 1935 in hopes of creating a more orderly flow in the Senate during the New Deal. In essence, the role of the parliamentarian was created to house the working knowledge of how the Senate was supposed to operate as more and more Senators spent less time on the floor.
As an advisor, the parliamentarian’s advice is non-binding. The presiding officer of the Senate can take it or leave it. The parliamentarian serves as a reference point, a lexicon so to speak, for new Senators to ask questions of as they serve as the presiding officer of the Senate. Senators may disagree with the parliamentarian. In fact, both the Democrats and the Republicans have fired the parliamentarian when they feel the parliamentarian is disagreeing with them for no apparent reason (Robert Dove being the most famous case, fired in 1987 by the Democrats and in 2001 by the Republicans).
So while the parliamentarian plays a role in the United States Senate, let’s not let Mitch McConnell and team fool us into thinking it is a critical one. It’s not. It’s a functionary role that was always intended to give advice to the chair, not bind the majority into what they could and could not do. At best, The Hill story today was a fig leaf for McConnell and team to hide behind.
And frankly, it was a small one.
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues
Many Americans don’t realize that the Supreme Court is actually the most powerful branch of government. In the end, they decide the fate of our laws and our lives — and you may not recognize just how deeply the next Supreme Court term will affect you personally.
Washington seems far away much of the time but if you aren’t careful, they’ll be right in your backyard — metaphorically speaking. For the 2014-2015 Supreme Court term, you can see what I mean.
For example, they are taking up a case — Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne — where residents are facing double taxes on income earned out of state. Income earned out of state has already been taxed but Maryland wants to tax it again for the resident’s local county.
Even more disturbing are issues of over-regulation. This past year alone, children’s lemonade stands were shut down, a mother was arrested for saying a curse word and a little boy was suspended from school for pointing his finger like a gun and pretending to shoot – and some of these cases are making it all the way to the Supreme Court, like Yates v. United States coming up this year.
In this case, a man caught some illegal, undersized fish in his boat. He was instructed to bring the fish back to port. Officers then claimed he was lying and had thrown some of the undersized fish overboard, which is illegal. He was then convicted of destroying “tangible objects” with the intent to obstruct an investigation, despite little evidence this actually happened. These are the types of over regulation issues citizens are dealing with all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The Court is also taking up a controversial case about a rapper convicted of making “criminal threats” after writing a few very violent Facebook posts. But the rapper said the posts were rap lyrics, not threats – and now he’s dealing with a Supreme Court hearing. Could your Facebook posts be “threatening” to someone who would report you? It could land you here.
Same-sex marriage will be placed front and center again this term, as many states petition the Court for review of their laws regarding marriage and equality. The Obamacare federal exchanges are on the docket as well. They may deal with the provision of subsidies in states not participating in the exchanges, as well as other controversial parts of the law that may affect how it’s fully implemented.
There are a wide range of cases on deck for the 2014-2015 SCOTUS bench to take up – issues that could have major affects on how we write on social media, deal with minor, over regulated laws and if we could be forced to pay double on our taxes.
The new term began October 6th so get ready to pay attention and take notes!
Thursday, September 18th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News
Readers of a certain age may be familiar with a fellow named J. Wellington Wimpy and his famous promise that “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” What you may not be aware of is that Mr. Wimpy is the senior strategic advisor to Republican Congressional leadership.
Wimpy’s appointment is the only way to explain the terrible Export Import Bank deal that leadership duped many conservatives and Republicans into accepting as part of this week’s bill to fund the federal government and our war in Syria. Wimpy’s play was a stroke of genius.
Using his time-honored strategy, he substituted an appeal for their votes for his normal request for hamburger and a promise to really totally shut down the Export Import Bank next year for his normal promise of payment on Tuesday. With this simple trick, Wimpy has executed a ruse grander than any of his previous frauds to purloin ground beef.
Some context might be helpful. Others have written lengthy and persuasive discussions of the need to shut down the Export-Import Bank. The justification doesn’t need to be rehashed here. Heck, even Representative Kevin McCarthy upon the realization of his elevation to Majority Leader commented, “I think Ex-Im Bank is … something government does not have to be involved in. The private sector can do it.”
All leadership had to do to put this terrible program to an end was – nothing. The Export Import Bank was scheduled to expire on its own.
Instead in a fit of hysterical bed-wetting when the President rolled out his well-worn strategy of linking any a noun, a verb, and “shut-down” the Republican Leadership scrambled to respond with a strategy to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Rep. Wimpy to the rescue.
The Wimpy plan was simple. He would convince conservatives that when Republicans take the House and Senate majority in the next election they’re really totally going to shut down the Export Import Bank (the Tuesday clause.) All they needed from conservatives was their votes and a commitment not to put up a fight on the Continuing Resolution (the Hamburger Clause). Without nary a peep from conservatives, the Wimpy plan was deployed.
It was of course a terrible deal. Much like Wimpy’s promised payment on Tuesday, the Republican leadership’s support for abolishing the Export Import Bank is never going to materialize. The President knows that Republican Leadership will fold like a cheap lawn chair if he even hints in the same direction as a shutdown or veto fight. There will be some must pass legislative vehicle that Ex-Im Bank supporters demand reauthorization be attached to, and since leadership actually does support the bank, it will happily acquiesce.
They’ll explain their supposedly reluctant acquiescence on needing to pass some vital piece of legislation and not wanting to tarnish the Presidential candidate and our “brand.” But believe you me, when Republicans retake the White House, Leadership’s totally going to pay for those hamburgers!
Republican Leadership squandered one of the greatest chances it likely will ever have to shut down the Export Import Bank. Had they sent the President a government and war funding bill, but did not include extension of the Export Import Bank in the bill, the President would have surely signed the bill. Does anyone really believe that the President and Harry Reid would have been so brazen as to deny funding for a war effort against terrorists just to protect cut-rate loans for Boeing’s customers? I doubt it, but maybe they would have. Regardless it is a pretty weak hand to play and Republicans could have carried the day – had they shown up to fight.
But sadly, Republican Leadership takes congressional conservatives for fools – and with good reason – every Tuesday they act surprised that J. Wellington Wimpy didn’t pay for his burgers. Until conservatives stop falling for the same lame promises, Rep. Wimpy’s behavior isn’t going to change and the nation is going to suffer.
Monday, September 15th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues
Buried in the stopgap funding bill that House Republican Leadership cobbled together last week was a little noticed provision that tees up a vote for a multi-billion tax increase during the lame-duck session of Congress.
The funding bill would extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) – which blocks taxes on Internet access – from November 1, 2014 until December 11, 2014. Congress has known about this looming expiration for seven years. There is broad support for making the tax prohibition permanent – permanent extension has 53 sponsors in the Senate and passed the House on a voice vote.
Never letting a good (manufactured) crisis go to waste, Congress is going to use the pending expiration of the Internet access tax prohibition to shepherd through a tax increase on phone, catalog and internet purchases. This week, the chief sponsor of the Internet Tax Bill, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), said as much, “I think there will be less concern after the election. The two go together nicely. One makes sure the Internet isn’t taxed and the other makes sure that sales taxes that are avoided with the Internet will be collected.”
The Marketplace Fairness Act
The Marketplace Fairness Act – or as it’s more accurately known, the Internet Sales Tax Act – is an effort by big spenders in Washington to enable their friends in state governments across the country to collect sales taxes on purchases made outside their states. Under current law, unless a company has a physical presence – a nexus – in a state, that state cannot tax their sales. It’s a common sense approach – if a company isn’t in the state, it shouldn’t be subjected to the tax laws of the state.
Most folks who have shopped online have experienced this at checkout – if you live in one of the twenty-four states which have a sales tax, but does not have an Amazon warehouse or office, you get to check out without being forced to pay sales tax. Your state most likely requires you to pay something called a “use tax,” but it’s your job to pay that, not Amazon’s to collect it.
What Congress wants to do is force Amazon, eBay, catalog vendors, infomercials, and anyone else who sells you something from out of state (as long as their company sells over one million dollars a year – a small threshold) to collect more taxes from you. In fact, the total is $23 Billion more in taxes each year.
This is the kind of idea that is only popular with lobbyists and government officials.
Lobbyists love it because it gives their wealthy corporate clients a leg up over smaller more nimble competitors.
Compliance with this law will be a nightmare for a small businesses. There are ten thousand different taxing jurisdictions in the United States all imposing different rates on different goods at different times of the year.
To keep up with the various tax laws, small businesses are going to have to pay expensive fees to integrate tax collection software with their in house computer systems. If the software costs weren’t enough, the attorney fees and accountant bills will be astronomical when they get something wrong.
If, for example, a small business in Maryland doesn’t correctly charge sales tax for of one of Connecticut’s latest sales tax holidays for school clothes, they could see themselves getting audited by the tax collector in Connecticut. (For example, gloves and mittens are tax exempt, batting gloves for the little league baseball team are not.) And when that small businessman fails to charge Johnny’s parents tax on his batting glove, what’s going to compel that tax collector to treat him equitably? Nothing. By it’s nature that Maryland company has no presence in Connecticut and not one Connecticut Representative or Senator to complain to about an abusive tax collector. Further if they don’t comply with the dictates of the out of state tax collector they can find themselves hauled into court in a city thousands of miles away threaten with a court judgment if they don’t comply.
While this may be a nightmare for small businessmen, Amazon loves the idea. They have enormous IT, accounting and legal departments already. Complying with this is an insignificant burden in the grand scheme of issues they have to deal with. It also comes with the added benefit of sticking it to their competitors. Win-Win.
Government officials love it because they see it as free money. Every month Amazon’s going to send them a big check and all they have to do is lobby Congress to help the company stick it to the little guy. As usual the person whose ox get’s gored is the taxpayer.
So when Black Friday rolls around, remember that unless Congress hears objections, they’re going to sneak one more thing into your online shopping basket – a $23 billion tax increase.
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 and is filed under Issues, News
Evidence against Lois Lerner’s innocence in the IRS scandal continues to mount. The latest revelation was discovered in an email received by Lerner, in which she clearly overlooked political and monetary abuse by Labor Unions when it reported to her.
The email quotes Don Todd, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office Labor-Management at the time, saying, “The IRS was telling us it would cost more to enforce the law then they would collect.”
During the same time period, Lerner chose to hone in on groups like the National Organization for Marriage and the Alabama Tea Party.
These are just more examples of Lerner paying little attention to Left-leaning organizations, while carefully scrutinizing Right-leaning organizations – many of those clearly associated with the Tea Party.
Thankfully, emails like these (remember when she called conservatives “crazies?”) continue to trickle in. After the IRS claimed to have “lost” 2 years worth of Lerner’s emails, it smelled like a doozy of a cover-up – and last week, they claimed that Lerner’s Blackberry was “wiped clean.”
But all hope is not lost in getting to the bottom of this mess.
The activist group Judicial Watch has been doggedly pursuing the supposed lost emails under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), hoping their efforts will uncover even more of what went on behind the scenes.
A Department of Justice attorney recently told Judicial Watch that “the federal government backs up all computer records in case something terrible happens in Washington and there’s a catastrophe so the government can continue operating.”
If this is true, the Obama Administration has been blatantly lying to the American people about the missing emails. In fact, during the June hearings on the scandal when IRS commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress, Rep. Paul Ryan said:
“Sitting here listening to this testimony, I don’t believe it…that’s your problem. No one believes you. “
It was perhaps the first time a Member of Congress said what everyone else was thinking out loud in an official capacity.
This IRS scandal is just another example of how crucial the midterm and 2016 elections are for our country.
While some will say that putting an “R” into office is much more important than how conservative that person might be fails to recognize the crux of this problem. Lerner was attacking conservative groups, not because she was a Democrat, but because she is part of a group of politicians, Democrats and Republicans, who fundamentally reject the proper execution of government. They believe that the ends will justify the means. Ultimately, to restore liberty in America, we need to elect people who will ensure that the government is a quiet defender of rights, not a group of outspoken actors seeking to enact a set of policies.