Silly me, for thinking DeMint cared what I thought

Couldn’t help responding to Jim DeMint today when he Tweeted,

My response was in two parts. First, I answered his question: Yes!

I had read with interest the top story in The Wall Street Journal this morning, which said that the long logjam on national legislation to require online businesses to pay sales taxes just like their bricks-and-mortar competitors may finally have broken:

Republican governors, eager for new revenue to ease budget strains, are dropping their longtime opposition to imposing sales taxes on online purchases, a significant political shift that could soon bring an end to tax-free sales on the Internet.

Conservative governors, joining their Democratic counterparts, have been making deals with online retail giant AMZN -1.09% to collect state sales taxes. The movement picked up an important ally when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie—widely mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate—recently reached an agreement under which Amazon would collect sales taxes on his state’s online purchases in exchange for locating distribution facilities there.

Mr. Christie called taxation of online sales “an important issue to all the nation’s governors” and endorsed federal legislation giving all states taxing authority.

This should lead to quick resolution, in a rational universe, since Amazon has said they support a national solution. And that’s very good news for states like South Carolina, which have unwisely shifted so much of their tax burdens to sales taxes just as conventional, “analog” store sales have been drying up.

I was particularly interested because the change that had come about was that Republican governors, such as Chris Christie, saw the need to do something about the fact that their states’ coffers had been depleted by the shift of our economy to online shopping.

It caused me to wonder what it would be like to have a real conservative Republican governor, rather than a darling of the Tea Party or the Club for Growth, one who — like any real conservative — believes in responsible governance, one who sees his or her role as a steward of the state’s public sector.

And then I remembered, that I did experience that, for years, when Lamar Alexander was governor in Tennessee. And so it is fitting that Lamar is the senator pushing this legislation:

Seizing on the recent political shift, Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, and co-sponsors from both parties are attempting to speed up action on a bill they wrote to give states authority to compel online companies to collect sales taxes.

One of the co-sponsors, Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.,) said, “It gets down to a basic issue…of simple fairness for small businesses that create jobs and opportunities all across America. And with the sales taxes they collect, they provide for local police and firemen, for the sewers and streets.”…

Oh, but wait… as soon as I said, Yes!, I realized that Sen. DeMint’s question was purely rhetorical, meant only to set up his announcement that he’s leaping into the fray to fight against common sense.

You can always rely on Jim DeMint. Unfortunately.

Silly me, for thinking Jim DeMint cared what I thought.

What, Me Worry about what YOU think?/File photo from an editorial board meeting in 2007.

17 thoughts on “Silly me, for thinking DeMint cared what I thought

  1. Kathy

    I wish something would be done, so I could pay the sales tax on everything when I order it. It would be a lot better than having to keep up with use tax and paying it to SC every year. I realize a lot of people don’t pay any use tax whether they owe it or not (at least according to the people I’ve asked). Evidently, the tax has been in place for decades. I had never heard of it until around 1989, but I’ve been dealing with it and paying it ever since. It would be so much easier to just pay it with purchases instead of having to remember to file orders from certain companies and pay the tax later.

    I tried to convince myself that I didn’t owe the use tax. However, everything I read from reputable sources including the Dept. of Revenue convinced me that we are indeed supposed to pay it.

  2. Brad

    Y’all really need to take a moment and follow his link to DeMint’s Facebook post, where you will see a deluge of the kind of uninformed, unreasoning responses that he relies on, that he has built his whole new career as a Tea Party kingmaker upon.

    This is why it is so very hard for serious conservatives to govern responsibly any more. People like DeMint are constantly whipping up emotional mob responses against rational proposals.

  3. tired old man

    If you won’t let me get away with the cheap shot of calling him Jim DeMinted, will you let me get away with calling him Jim Deminished?

  4. Karen McLeod

    But the serious conservatives haven’t been taking a stand. They remain quiet for fear they might lose votes. As a result, the Republican party is turning into precisely the brainlessly cruel party that Bud portrays it as.

  5. Kathryn Fenner

    @Kathy–Folks in Aiken, where I grew up, have been paying use tax on cars bought across the river in Georgia forever. This is because the state makes yo pay it before they will register the car. I think the only way to make it happen on a bazillion small purchases is to have the seller collect.

  6. bud

    People like DeMint are constantly whipping up emotional mob responses against rational proposals.

    One mans rational proposal is another mans tyranny.

  7. Kathy

    Kathryn, I agree that the sellers should collect. It seems that it would be much easier now with computer software. Is there some clearinghouse that helps businesses keep up with the sales tax rates in all the states, counties, and municipalities? Otherwise, I think that keeping up with rate changes would be the most difficult thing.

    It just surprises me that so many people in SC apparently don’t pay the use tax and pretend they aren’t required to do so. It was on one of the outer pages of the old paper tax booklet and is on Turbo Tax now. Even some of our elected officials seem to disregard the law concerning the use tax. Oh yeah, some of them disregard a lot of our laws.

  8. j

    His political posture and positions are definitely a demented case. What can we expect with such a large population being functionally illiterate?

  9. bud

    Jim DeMint may be a radical compared to your typical Republican from about 20 years ago. But I’m not sure he’s all that radical in the Republican Party now. From TPM:

    “Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended Mitt Romney from Democratic speculation that he passed on him as a 2008 running mate after reviewing his tax returns, saying Sarah Palin was simply the better choice at the time. ”

    Ok. Is Mitt Romney THAT bad or is John McCain losing it completely. This is probably just the best he could come up with to deflect the idea that Romney’s tax records were the reason he was rejected for VP in 2008. But to suggest Palin was “the better choice” really is hilarious.

  10. Tavis Micklash

    “Jim DeMint may be a radical compared to your typical Republican from about 20 years ago. But I’m not sure he’s all that radical in the Republican Party now. From TPM:”

    He isn’t that radical now. Mainly because him and his ilk have moved the party to the right so far.

    I consider myself a conservative but although I align myself with many Tea Party Causes I can’t consider myself a member. I much more closely associate myself to Jeb Bush than Jim DeMint.

    All taxes aren’t bad taxes. Even all new taxes aren’t bad. I just can’t subscribe to the hardline mentality of non compromise.

    I don’t want to “beat” anyone. Its not about winning by destroying the other faction. Nor can I advocate this scorched earth mentality of if I can’t triumph I’m going to watch the country burn.

    I just want a better country that isn’t paralyzed by grid lock. I would prefer limit government but if the cost of compromise is small amounts of government tinkering into the private sector I can live with that.

    For example the DISCLOSE act of 2012 that was blocked yesterday from Cloture. I don’t think it was perfect but It would have gone a long way to restoring some campaign finance accountability in government.


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