Jim DeMint on Taxation Without Representation

Jim DeMint

Senator Jim DeMint is back in the news this week, talking about recent efforts to tax Internet purchases. I addressed this topic recently, though not from the same angle DeMint has taken.

The frustration with the Marketplace Fairness Act that I expressed in my post was about how Amazon was pretending to be an Internet business pushing for “fairness” when that wasn’t necessarily the case.

DeMint is out this week talking about how the Marketplace Fairness Act would be taxation without representation:

The Marketplace Fairness Act recently introduced in the Senate would require online retailers to collect and pay sales taxes to states where they have no physical presence or democratic recourse. Overstock.com, eBay and the like could have to pay sales taxes to any state from which an Internet user placed an order, even if the company’s headquarters, warehouses and sales staff are located entirely in other states.

The real reason behind this bill doesn’t have anything to do with “fairness” for online retailers. It’s about funding government.

Decisions need to be made – and they’re not easy to make, either – about how to balance states’ budgets. Adding taxes is not the right decision to make, and lawmakers in state capitals are unwilling to make spending cuts. DeMint explains:

Politicians want this bill passed to raise new tax revenue for broken state governments facing budget shortfalls. But legislators in state capitals don’t want to make the hard decisions to cut spending or raise taxes on their constituents—they fear the voter backlash. So they’d like their allies in Washington to make it legal for them to tax people who can’t vote against them.

Indeed, this is Internet tax is a bad idea; but beyond being a bad idea, it promotes taxation without representation, which violates one of our nation’s founding principles.

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