Obama Eyes Cell Phone Tax Without Involving Congress by using FCC!

  • musclmed

    Posts: 3279

    Aug 16, 2013 12:30 PM GMT
    Well I stand corrected, he has tried it. Obama now asserts the power to tax and now appropriate money to a program. This is not a partisan issue its a constitutional issue.

    Even to suggest that he can tax and appropriate money is distressing. It does not matter how laudable the program is, in this situation he is suggesting ( through his press secretary and a speach in June) that the FCC use its power ( an independent but executive branch agency).

    The FCC is a convenient cover for this unconstitutional act. All free thinking people should oppose this.

    http://www.tax-news.com/news/Obama_Eyes_Cell_Phone_Tax_Without_Involving_Congress____61756.html

    In order to boost ConnectED, his plan to place high-speed internet connections into United States schools, President Barack Obama is proposing that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should place an additional annual fee on each cell phone user, thereby by-passing the need for Congressional approval.

    ConnectED, introduced by the President in June this year, is a five-year program to provide 99 percent of America's schools with high-speed internet connectivity, whereas, at present, only some 20 percent of students have that internet access. Its total cost is unknown, but estimates have put it at up to USD6bn.

    To obtain funding for his project, however, rather than putting a further tax to Congress for approval, where it would be likely to raise Republican opposition, the President has proposed that the finance could be arranged directly by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

    The FCC, which regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable, already has the power to add charges on consumers to fund specific programs. In particular, it has an E-Rate program to expand access to telecommunications technology across the US, and it is proposed that, under that program, the FCC should impose an additional ConnectED fee on each US cell phone user of around USD5 per annum for the next three years.

    When asked during a press briefing on August 14 whether President Obama was "making an end-run around Congress" by proposing that the FCC could decide on imposing the new fee, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest pointed out that the President is "not going to wait for Congress to act."

    "He thinks (ConnectED) is an important priority," Earnest added. "And we have seen a little dysfunction in Congress. You would think that connecting schools to the information superhighway would be a pretty noncontroversial topic, particularly when it's something that could be accomplished through a relatively modest investment. Unfortunately, we haven't seen a lot of action in Congress, so the President has advocated an administrative, unilateral action to get this done."

    He did emphasize, however, that the FCC is an independent body, and that making the investment in ConnectED and uprating its fees would be its decision, although the President considers it to be "a no-brainer."

    It is reported that, while the FCC has already begun its examination of the President's proposal, a final decision could take up to one year. It can be expected that Republican politicians will have their say in pressurizing the FCC not to go ahead with what could be seen as the Administration setting a precedent by denying Congress the final decision on an item of taxation and expenditure.

    In addition, a Tax Foundation analysis early this year found that US consumers already pay an average of over 17 percent in taxes and fees on their cell phone bill, including more than 11 percent in state and local charges. Its report discovered that 26 states have average state-local wireless taxes and fees in excess of 10 percent; and that, with federal taxes, some cell phone subscribers pay more than 20 percent in taxes. In Nebraska, the combined federal-state-local average rate is nearly 24.5 percent, and in six other states (Washington, New York, Florida, Illinois, Rhode Island and Missouri) it exceeds 20 percent.

    It was pointed out that cell phones are already taxed at a much higher level than other consumer items, even as much as or more than alcohol or cigarettes, and that there has been widespread criticism of telecom taxes as "burdensome, regressive and stifling consumer choice."
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 16, 2013 1:06 PM GMT
    musclmed said
    The FCC, which regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable, already has the power to add charges on consumers to fund specific programs. In particular, it has an E-Rate program to expand access to telecommunications technology across the US, and it is proposed that, under that program, the FCC should impose an additional ConnectED fee on each US cell phone user of around USD5 per annum for the next three years.

    A power given to the FCC by - CONGRESS. If Congress doesn't want the FCC to impose these charges, which are technically not taxes but operational fees, then Congress should rescind that autonomous FCC authority.

    And President Obama is not ordering the FCC to do this, but is proposing it. The FCC itself must decide, and why that process may take up to a year. I note the article states that in the meantime individual Republicans in Congress may be trying to persuade the FCC to NOT add these fees. BUT, that's not Congress acting as a body to make taxing decisions, either. Hmmmm...

    Yep. sure sounds like Obama is using his dictatorial powers to instantly create & impose taxes. Like those he forced on the States that have actually imposed the greatest cell phone bill taxes - NOT. And those taxes go to State revenue, not Federal, a fact the article doesn't clearly explain, confusing several issues with one.

    The Republican hysteria about Obama is getting worse & worse. One can see a common orchestrated theme running through it, of the President operating as an unconstitutional dictator. A charge curiously absent when his Republican predecessor was in fact acting unconstitutionally on many matters, like Presidential signing statements tacked onto Congressional bills. This FCC matter is purely politics, and pure Republican distortion & lies.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3279

    Aug 16, 2013 1:33 PM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    musclmed said
    The FCC, which regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable, already has the power to add charges on consumers to fund specific programs. In particular, it has an E-Rate program to expand access to telecommunications technology across the US, and it is proposed that, under that program, the FCC should impose an additional ConnectED fee on each US cell phone user of around USD5 per annum for the next three years.

    A power given to the FCC by - CONGRESS. If Congress doesn't want the FCC to impose these charges, which are technically not taxes but operational fees, then Congress should rescind that autonomous FCC authority.

    And President Obama is not ordering the FCC to do this, but is proposing it. The FCC itself must decide, and why that process may take up to a year. I note the article states that in the meantime individual Republicans in Congress may be trying to persuade the FCC to NOT add these fees. BUT, that's not Congress acting as a body to make taxing decisions, either. Hmmmm...

    Yep. sure sounds like Obama is using his dictatorial powers to instantly create & impose taxes. Like those he forced on the States that have actually imposed the greatest cell phone bill taxes - NOT. And those taxes go to State revenue, not Federal, a fact the article doesn't clearly explain, confusing several issues with one.

    The Republican hysteria about Obama is getting worse & worse. One can see a common orchestrated theme running through it, of the President operating as an unconstitutional dictator. A charge curiously absent when his Republican predecessor was in fact acting unconstitutionally on many matters, like Presidential signing statements tacked onto Congressional bills. This FCC matter is purely politics, and pure Republican distortion & lies.



    No distortion, no lies. It was an administration proposal for legislation. It was not adopted. To circumvent this Obama has suggested that the FCC could adopt and expand his plan by increasing fees and APPROPRIATING that money for it.

    Of course everyone should try to persuade them not to levy these fees, then they can just de-fund them proportionally or bar them from doing so.

    When congress acts or does not act by rejecting legislation the executive branch is at its weakest point. The fees were created for its operating budget to regulate phone , cable and wireless signals, not to create a new branch of government that can adopt agendas and appropriate funds and expand programs.

    Whether Obama is ordering , suggesting it or whatever he calls it these days it is a shameful act that his press secretary saying President is "not going to wait for Congress to act." .

    That was THE WHOLE POINT! of our founding fathers designed a government that would be representative and debate and vote. The congress has the power to levy taxes and fees and the Executive would have to negotiate.

    Oh how short sighted the few that would laud a tremendous arrogant Presidential power grab in order for a short term gain.

    “A tax has the primary purpose of raising revenue,” said Joseph Henchman, Tax Foundation Vice President of Legal Projects, and author of the exhaustive study. “By contrast, a fee recoups the cost of providing a service from a beneficiary.”

    A fee is a direct trade one for another according to case law. If I am getting charged 5 dollars for broadband installation somewhere else, ITS A TAX. Its only a fee if EVERYONE is the beneficiary.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 16, 2013 1:59 PM GMT
    musclmed saidIts only a fee if EVERYONE is the beneficiary.

    That's simply not how fees are applied in the real world, with hundreds of examples, from private & public education to governmental.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3279

    Aug 16, 2013 2:03 PM GMT
    ART_DECO said
    musclmed saidIts only a fee if EVERYONE is the beneficiary.

    That's simply not how fees are applied in the real world, with hundreds of examples, from private & public education to governmental.


    Well "the real world" or simply your interpretation is just untrue.

    Non partisan Tax foundation.

    http://taxfoundation.org/article/understanding-difference-between-taxes-and-fees

    The FEE argument was also clarified in the ACA decision.

    A fee is a fee for service. A tax is for raising money.

    They aren't charging the schools they are charging everyone.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 16, 2013 5:02 PM GMT
    Whatever the president does, you can bet anything the left on here and in most US media will wholeheartedly support it with the most fanatical devotion.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 17, 2013 10:38 AM GMT
    Looks like they're still serving sour grapes at the Tea Party.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 17, 2013 2:17 PM GMT
    This is one of the biggest problems with Washington DC today. The Congress has given the agencies and bureaus and departments which fall under the Executive branch far too much power to do these kind of things. The bureaucrat branch is the unelected, fourth branch of goverment.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 18, 2013 3:07 AM GMT
    How wonderful that children in schools will have internet. I am more than happy to pay a little bit more in my cellphone bill to give children the opportunity to have access to an invaluable learning tool.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3279

    Aug 18, 2013 3:41 AM GMT
    GAMRican saidHow wonderful that children in schools will have internet. I am more than happy to pay a little bit more in my cellphone bill to give children the opportunity to have access to an invaluable learning tool.


    It sounds like a worthy cause, just like all the others it should go through regular order instead by decree.

    To circumvent congress and openly brag about doing so goes against the spirit of separation of powers.

    hopefully congress will reign in the power they gave away to the FCC, and this loophole will close.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 18, 2013 4:02 AM GMT
    GAMRican saidHow wonderful that children in schools will have internet. I am more than happy to pay a little bit more in my cellphone bill to give children the opportunity to have access to an invaluable learning tool.


    That's asinine. You don't think you pay enough already?