Freedom vs Free Enterprise

I have never hid the fact that I am a Libertarian and as such I support individual rights and free enterprise. With the individual rights comes responsibility for ones actions. Eat too many twinkies and you might get fat, and there are health consequences with that, smoke and there may be consequences with that. They ignore one of the principles that apply to free people. voleiti non fit injuria (Latin, To the consenting, no injury is done.) In the last few years progressives in both parties have violated this principle. Bush’s Patriot Act is a classic example.

“Yesterday, Republicans and Democrats in Congress joined hands to renew several provisions of the Patriot Act. These provisions are unconstitutional and violate our right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

Of course they always do this in the name of security of the masses and that it is   unnecessary for freedom to survive.  For the good of the people of course.  This of course ignores a quote from founding father Ben Franklin “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

This became apparent today when Senator Patrick Leahy attempted to slip in an amendment to “To improve the provisions relating to the privacy of electronic communications.” The problem is that his amendment did exactly the opposite!

A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans’ e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law, CNET has learned.

Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns, according to three individuals who have been negotiating with Leahy’s staff over the changes. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans’ e-mail, is scheduled for next week.


Of course once caught he retracted support for the very amendment he introduced!

Sen. Patrick Leahy has abandoned his controversial proposal that would grant government agencies more surveillance power — including warrantless access to Americans’ e-mail accounts — than they possess under current law.

The Vermont Democrat said today on Twitter that he would “not support such an exception” for warrantless access. The remarks came a few hours after a CNET article was published this morning that disclosed the existence of the measure.

A vote on the proposal in the Senate Judiciary committee, which Leahy chairs, is scheduled for next Thursday. The amendments were due to be glued onto a substitute (PDF) to H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved.

Leahy’s about-face comes in response to a deluge of criticism today, including the American Civil Liberties Union saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress — with more than 2,300 messages sent so far — titled: “Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!”

Yet this is exactly how the infringement of freedom is enacted into law across the United States, in the name of a warm and fuzzy bill. The PACT Act imposed a draconian tax on smokers that if imposed on the majority would not have passed.

They are now trying to force individuals to pay excessive sales tax on the masses in the name of fairness to local business ignoring the fact that competition among the states keeps taxes low and that the original intent of the commerce clause was to keep states from imposing taxes on goods from other states. It is nothing more then a protectionist move to protect states that impose excessive taxes on it’s populace!  The bill is called “The Main Street Fairness Act”

The Main Street Fairness Act, formally known as H.R. 5660, is a bill before the United States Congress which would “promote simplification and fairness in the administration and collection of sales and use taxes, and for other purposes.” Proponents say that it will create billions of dollars in sales tax revenue to local communities without raising taxes or creating a new tax. Specifically, the Main Street Fairness Act would allow state governments to require large out-of-state retailers to collect and remit sales tax on purchases shipped to those residents of those states. The Main Street Fairness Act was introduced by William Delahunt, a Democrat fromMassachusetts, on June 30, 2010. As of October 2011 it has not passed the House or the Senate.

The original intent of the Commerce Clause was to make “normal” or “regular” commerce between the states; thus it was designed to promote trade and exchange not restrict it. Further, it was specifically aimed at preventing the states from enacting impediments to the free flow of “commerce” such as tariffs, quotas and taxes.

But many of these draconian acts are enacted in a similar fashion as Sen. Patrick Leahy’s amendment.  In Wisconsin these “progressives” enacted the smoking ban by putting it into the budget after many years of failure to get it passed through the normal political process.

Madison – Two weeks before he added a smoking ban to his proposed 2009-’11 budget, Gov. Jim Doyle was telling those who contacted his office on the issue that it “must be passed as separate legislation.”

Opponents of the proposed smoking ban made public of a letter that Doyle’s office sent out in response to a comment on smoking- or tobacco-related issues.

In a Feb. 4 letter to a Sullivan woman, Doyle said: “I included a sales tax increase on cigarettes in my 2007-’09 budget proposal, and the Legislature passed and I signed a budget that includes a $1-per-pack increase. The statewide smoking ban must be passed as separate legislation and, unfortunately, the Legislature adjourned without approving the ban in the last session.”

On Feb. 17, however, Doyle folded the smoking ban into his $63-billion budget for the two years that start July 1. That budget would also raise the cigarette tax by another 75-cents, to $2.52 per pack.

This is not the first insult imposed on smokers, the first was SCHIP that imposed a 2,159% increase on rolling tobacco in a for the children campaign.

But the Progressive attack on people and businesses that they don’t approve of does not end there. Just this year “progressives” slipped in an amendment into the transportation bill that put approximately 10,000 people out of work and killed 1000 business at a time when they claim to want to increase jobs and businesses.

It was not a tax loophole.  All of the taxes on the tobacco and tubes were payed. It was a collaberation between “Big Tobacco”, the Convenience Store Lobbies, and “Big Pharma” who stands to gain selling their smoking cessation products.

Here is Senate Finance Committee’s explanation:

“Under current law, there is a disparity in the tax treatment of cigarette tobacco and pipe tobacco.  This creates a loophole for in-store roll-your-own cigarette machines to avoid the standard cigarette tax by improperly labeling a product as pipe tobacco.  The proposal would expand the definition of a tobacco manufacturer to include businesses operating a roll-your-own machine.  As such, the machine’s owner would be responsible for federal excise taxes on the tobacco products manufactured using his or her machine.   This provision is estimated to raise $94 million over ten years.” Baucus Lauds Agreement on Highway Bill, Student Loans

Of course the amendment did nothing to increase the taxes on pipe tobacco, all it did was make the owners of the machines outlaws and forbade them from renting the machines that used pipe tobacco.

But again the “progressives” of both parties call theft of private citizens money an investment.  An investment is a volentary act with an expectation of a return in the future.  From Merrium Webster:

Process of exchanging income for an asset that is expected to produce earnings at a later time. An investor refrains fromconsumption in the present in hopes of a greater return in the future.

The problem is that if it were a so called investment would not everyone want in on the action? Is it really an investment when you steal it from a minority population and spend it on what you want?  According to the “Progressives” YES!

“This investment in our transportation system is an investment in more than a million jobs, our economy and our future.  Our economy needs a 21st-century highway system that meets the needs of our communities, helps our businesses grow and creates jobs,” Baucus said.  “This agreement will also make a high-quality education affordable for millions of students across the country.  We needed to reach across the aisle to get this done, and that’s exactly what we did.”

The two-year highway bill reauthorizes and fully funds the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), the federal funding source for transportation infrastructure projects like roads, highways, bridges and mass transit.  The bill is also an investment in good-paying American jobs; the critical infrastructure investments supported by the bill create or support more than a million jobs, ensure safety and mobility, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality all across the country.

The funding added to the HTF comes from a transfer from the Treasury’s General Fund.  The amount transferred from the General Fund is fully replenished through a provision stabilizing pension interest rates and a provision boosting Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation premiums, as well as other offsets.”

Taxpayers for Common Sense is not a big fan of this approach, and explains it:

“The bill requires 10 years of revenues to pay off the 26 months of spending the bill contains. . . .Congress will transfer all of the money it plans to spend into the HTF during the life of the bill, but when the bill expires only 38% of the additional revenue will have been collected. The remaining revenue is projected to be collected over the next seven years.”

But hey the abusive tax on smokers was suppose to pay for SCHIP wasn’t it?  Now they claim to close a loophole to fund yet another unfunded mandate?   How many times can you spend the same dollar?  I guess the only way to see if a politician is lying is to see if his/her lips are moving.  Unless they are actually talented and are into ventriloquism, but I doubt that any politician is that talented!

About Marshall Keith

Broadcast Engineer Scuba Diver Photographer Fisherman Hunter Libertarian
This entry was posted in Libertarian, Nanny State, Smoking Ban and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Freedom vs Free Enterprise

  1. Good catch on the “for the children” aspect: not only to raise money to pay for the healthcare of the children of nonsmokers who were too selfish to pay for it themselves, but also claiming that cheap rolling tobacco was causing “child smoking” because “children are natually attracted to the gimmickry of rolling their own.”

    Hmmm… whatever happened to glitzy packs being the culprit, eh?

    – MJM

    • Thanks Michael, I get sick of the government hiding behind children to enact their agenda. Kind of reminds me of the end of the “Dead Zone” where the politician use a child as a human shield.

  2. Pingback: The Marketplace Extortion Act | Tea Party Perspective

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