Another freedom has been quietly legislated away by the US Congress.
The House and Senate yesterday passed the PACT Act - S1147.
For those not familiar....this was the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking legislation which, once signed by the president, now makes it a federal crime to transport cigarettes, purchased on the internet, using the US Postal Service.
If you are not
a smoker and think this doesn't effect you......think again.
The legislation was passed under the guise of protecting children from
illegally buying cigarettes on the internet.
Lemme see....Little Johnny is at school.....the mailman delivers a package in his name from an Indian Reservation....and his parents never open it or question what he bought or where he got the money from.
Looking deeper into who sponsored this bill anyone with minimal intelligence can see this was not about protecting kids....it's about money.....lost revenue and taxes.
The bill was heavily lobbied by NACS.....National Convenience Store Owners. Wonder why they wanted to stop mail order smokes?
Could it be that internet ordered cigarettes are 1/3 the cost of buying them at 7 - 11 and store owners noticed a year by year decline in over-the-counter sales?
If you're thinking buyers could use FedEX, DHL or UPS well.......the infamous Elliot Spitzer, former attorney general for the state of New York, aready shut down that option back in 2003 threatening to make life difficult for those delivery companies and other states quickly followed suit.
So why are internet ordered cigarettes so cheap? Because most are sold by Indian Reservations which are exempt from state taxes and the Jensen Act. The Seneca Nation of western New York State being one of the largest vendors.
The Jensen Act requires all tobacco vendors to report to individual states anyone who buys cigarettes out of their home state so that their home state can track them down and collect the tax due on the purchase. I wonder if the Jensen Act could be expanded to include everything we buy on Ebay and Amazon? Think they'd never do that to collect sales tax? Oh really?
So how could this little noticed legislation effect all of us.....smokers and non-smokers alike?
This bill opens a door to regulating the use of the US Postal Service to more than just cigarettes.
My neighbor owns a Pharmacy. He is losing perscription sales to less expensive internet ordered pharmaceuticals. What if his national business group lobbies Congress to outlaw the mailing of prescritption drugs?
How about Liquor Store Owners who are losing sales to mail ordered wines? How about Butchers who want to shut down Omaha Steaks?
What if General Motors wanted to stop us all from purchasing auto parts on the internet?
Legislation like the PACT Act becomes what is called a Slippery Slope and at the end of the day it jeopardizes our precious freedoms of choice.
Just one more reason to vote 3rd or 4th party come November. Vote the bums out......both Democrats and Republicans alike.