Monday, June 4, 2007
Recent proposals in the U.S. Congress are taking a huge swipe at freedom in America once again by aiming to impose multiple different forms of crippling taxation and restriction on users of the internet.
State and local governments this week resumed a push to lobby Congress for far-reaching changes on two different fronts: gaining the ability to impose sales taxes on Net shopping, and being able to levy new monthly taxes on DSL and other Internet-service connections. One senator is even predicting taxes on e-mail, reports CNet.
Several bills were introduced last week that could see all manner of new forms of internet taxation become a reality before the end of the year.
Sen. Michael Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, introduced a bill (PDF link) for mandatory sales tax collection for Internet purchases, meaning that if you buy items through online sites like eBay or Amazon.com, you might have to start paying additional sales taxes on your purchases.
The Libertarian party has warned that the bill represents more big government intervention and that while Enzi insists the bill "would not increase taxes," the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act would open the door for states to charge sales tax on Internet sales. In contrast to his statement, the C-Net article states that Enzi warned that other taxes may zoom upward if his "mandatory sales tax collection" bill isn't passed.
In a second and separate proposal during a House of Representatives hearing last week, politicians weighed whether to let a temporary ban on internet access taxes lapse when it expires on November 1.
Such a move would leave open the possibility that simply using the internet would require a tax to be paid which critics suggest could sound a death knell for broadband, DSL and "always on" high speed internet.
Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia compared the move to taxing people for simply entering shopping malls or libraries. With the U.S. economy already under considerable strain, taking a huge swipe at e-commerce, one of its cornerstones, seems like the worst possible thing Congress could do.
Furthermore, allowing taxation on internet access represents a slippery slope towards opening up the possibilities of taxing all kinds of internet based services.
"They might say, 'We have no interest in having taxes on e-mail,' but if we allow the prohibition on Internet taxes to expire, then you open the door on cities and towns and states to tax e-mail or other aspects of Internet access," said Sen. John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican.
An email tax would certainly suit both the government and internet providers who would likely get a cut. Last year it was revealed that AOL is planning to charge mass-emailers a fee to avoid the ISP's spam filters and guarantee that their marketing emails arrive straight in AOL subscribers' inboxes. Yahoo! is also endorsing the scheme.
Under such a system email considered "uncertified" would risk running through AOL and Yahoo!'s discrimination process. And as this potential profit center for the two net giants takes off, there's no incentive for either company to deliver the "free email" - and every incentive for them to get the world conditioned to paying for guaranteed delivery.
A United Nations agency also proposed in 1999 the idea of a 1-cent-per-100-message tax, indicating that the idea has been floating around for almost a decade.
In recent months, a chorus of propaganda intended to demonize the Internet and further lead it down a path of strict control has spewed forth from numerous establishment organs:
The development of a new form of internet with new regulations is also designed to create an online caste system whereby the old internet hubs would be allowed to break down and die, forcing people to use the new taxable, censored and regulated world wide web.
Make no mistake, the internet, one of the greatest outposts of free speech ever created is under constant attack by powerful people who cannot operate within a society where information flows freely and unhindered. Both American and European moves mimic stories we hear every week out of State Controlled Communist China, where the internet is strictly regulated and virtually exists as its own entity away from the rest of the web.
The Internet is freedom's best friend and the bane of control freaks. Its eradication is one of the short term goals of those that seek to centralize power and subjugate their populations under a surveillance panopticon prison.