The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

PAC Checks Make Legislating Easy!


 


Do you ever wonder why our federal and state legislators expend energy, effort, and time on bills that appear as wasteful legislation?


From CISPA (an alleged Internet security bill) through the current manifestation and deliberation on the Internet sales taxes, some legislators appear to have no other driven focus.  How many jobs related bills have we gotten from either House of Congress? I recall a bill to level the volume of television commercials between television networks for channel surfers: Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, or CALM, Act in 2010.

According to CNN the legislation was one of the Federal Communication Commission's most sought after bills over a period of many years.
.....the Federal Communications Commission is barring broadcasters and pay TV providers from airing excessively loud commercials, saying ads must maintain the "same average volume" as the programs they accompany. 
The move -- which undoubtedly will make many TV viewers happier, and save countless marriages -- addresses a problem that, regulators say, is almost as old as television itself. 
Loud commercials have been a leading source of complaints to the FCC since its consumer call center began reporting top complaints in 2002. 
Since January 2008, the FCC has received about 1,000 complaints and about 5,000 inquiries, the commission said.
Really?  

Is it possible to expect more from a Congress that is orbiting around the 13% approval rating? Orbiting at an increasingly accelerated pace much like human fecal waste tracking around the sides of a restroom privy towards its ultimate location: the drain (Tried hard to keep that sentence image free!).

So, sales taxes on the Internet is a pressing issue for you and me?  Sales taxes are a pressing issues for all small businesses, maybe? Small business are suffering severe loses from Internet sales by not collecting state and local taxes on sales to consumers?  Any of the previous, all of the previous or actually 'little' of the previous.

OpenSecrets Dot Org has a different take on the imminent legislation. The "follow the money around congress" website uses a perfect example of legislative impetus via a congressman from Missouri  the "Show me State:", as in show me the money.  OpenSecrets uses Blunt as an entry to comment related to a number of 'contribution hungry" legislators.
 
 Excerpt 
Supporters of the proposed Internet sales tax like to make it sound as though they just care about the little guy, the shopkeeper still intrepid enough to keep the doors open at her bricks-and-mortar store on Main Street. And in fact, the matching bills in the House and Senate -- which would require online retailers to collect sales tax on all transactions and hand the money over to state and local governments -- are called the Marketplace Fairness Act. 
keyboard cash money.bmp
But, like many things in Washington, especially those that suddenly start to move through Congress quickly, very big business has thrown its weight behind the proposal.
 Excerpt 
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told the Times he was motivated to support the Internet sales tax in part by the owners of a local bridal shop, who complained to him that many customers browse in the store, then buy online for a better deal. 
“They use the parking lot. They use the sidewalk. They benefit from police protection, and then the local merchant who pays for all of that doesn’t get the sale,” he told the Times.  
Blunt didn't tell the Times that three other supporters of the Internet sales tax with much deeper pockets than the bridal shop -- PACs run by Home Depot, Walmart and Target -- each gave $5,000 to his leadership PAC, Rely On Your Beliefs, earlier this year. And Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) who told the Times about a local shop in his state that lost customers looking for better deals on rifle scopes, took $5,000 from Home Depot on March 31. 
Excerpt

The legislation's sponsor in the House, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) told the Times that his constituents have reminded him that Norquist didn't elect him, and "Members that come to Washington and kowtow to special interests end up contributing to this very polarized government. These are tough decisions we have to make up here." 
In the first three months of 2013, Womack received $10,000 from Walmart's PAC, $2,000 from the PAC run by Best Buy and $1,000 from the PAC run by Lowe's, the home improvement big box store. All of those companies are supporters of the Internet sales tax. 
Read More



A few points. I was once marveled by the news of a California politician who contributed $100 million of her one money to fund her campaign for office in the House or the Senate (memory failed me there).  Well, if we pay close attention to websites like OpenSecrets, we may find rationale for the willingness to spend copious amounts to win a congressional seat. Paying close attention also will also yield possible motivating factors for the votes of many who sit in congress. Money clearly buys votes and often against the wishes of congressional constituents and the nation. But, of course businesses are constituents also, right? According to Mitt Romney they surely are "people."  But, does the business as an entity literally vote, or are there other considerations from businesses? (Hint, Hint).

Internet sales tax to help the brick and mortar businesses?  Sure, considering Home Depot sells brick and mortar.

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