Recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder stated that he supported a measure for the State of Michigan to collect sales tax from online purchases. While citizens are supposed to pay this sales tax anyway, there usually is not a mechanism built into the site for them to do so, as such, they must self-report this. As you can imagine, this frequently goes unreported. While some on the right would try to use this as ammunition against a moderate politician, this policy is especially sound for a state still trying to recover from a decade of mismanagement and budgetary issues. Michigan is hardly alone in this measure, Indiana also considered a similar measure this year (they have an agree with Amazon.com to start collecting taxes in 2014).
It seems that each party has its lightning rod subgroups, with the Republicans it is the Tea Party and with the Democrats it is – or could become – the Occupy (wherever) Movement. In 2008 and 2009 the Tea Party movement was born and grew from nothing into a very big something. In 2011, the Occupy (insert place here) Movement spring up across the nation. One group – very conservative, the other – very liberal. What is interesting though is that these two groups are really born out of the same issue – unhappiness with government role and actions within our economy.
As everyone I am sure knows, US Senator Dick Lugar – seemingly an Indiana institution – lost in a primary to State Treasurer Richard Mourdock last night. And make no mistake, Lugar lost this race as much, or perhaps even more, than Mourdock won it. When you have a giant cash advantage and still lose by 20 points, it is very telling about how the voting citizenry feels about you (and your campaign). Dick Lugar, after serving for SIX terms in the US Senate, lost 60-40 to a State Treasurer. That just is not supposed to happen (either because you aren’t supposed to spend six terms in the Senate or because an under-card office holder is not supposed to one of the most recognized figures in a state).
If Republicans can maintain their majority in the US House while also winning the Senate (and maybe the Presidency) we will likely see a dramatic decrease in the size and scope of the Federal Government. Some of the items being talked about as cuts from the Federal Budget would need to be absorbed at the state level. This, in turn, means that state governments could end up growing. The shifting of services from one sector of government to another may not have a large impact on the bigger states who already have that large tax-supported infrastructure. However, in states that have part-time legislatures, more oversight means more legislation and more time spent in the respective capitols.
On Monday you saw an article by Thomas Anderson discussing the Student Loan debate, or more precisely, the debate about the Student Loan debate. One thing, throughout all of this that seems to be ignored is that the cost of going to college has increased dramatically. In the 11 years since I graduated college, my alma-mater has almost doubled tuition (around $2,300 to now $4,300+). In that time, inflation has increased only 30%. That means that tuition in 2001 costs, adjusted for today’s inflation, would be just under $3000. That is only a $700 increase…not the $2000 increase you see above. Remember, this does not even factor in the cost of student housing or books which can fluctuate for each student but DO factor into the overall amount a student takes out for a loan.