The days of tax-free Internet shopping may soon be coming to an abrupt end, if two Republican senators have their way.
Sens. Mike Enzi of Wyoming and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee are currently preparing to introduce new legislation that would allow states to force Amazon.com and other out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes. Their bill has the backing of several key corporate retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores, Best Buy, Home Depot, and other companies that are currently required to collect sales taxes. At issue is whether online retailers should have to collect sales taxes in states where they’re making sales. Currently, online shoppers are supposed to report purchases for tax purposes but usually don’t.
As an investigation unfolds over a controversial U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee program, another "green" loan recipient lingers at the brink of financial collapse. Massachusetts energy firm Beacon Power Corporation, which develops "flywheel-based" energy storage systems, filed for bankruptcy Sunday after receiving a $43 million Energy Department loan guarantee in August 2010 — only months after taxpayers were put on the hook for a $535 million loan guarantee granted to the now-defunct solar energy company Solyndra.
Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power (which was adapted into a mini-series by PBS in 1992) explored the shift of oil’s epicenter from the Middle East to the Western Hemisphere, expressing his surprise that “what appeared to be irreversible is being reversed.” He explains:
Two authors of a new study hailed to end the climate change debate once and for all are at odds over what the report actually does prove. Climatologist Judith Curry (left) accuses her colleague and scientific director Richard Muller of another Climategate trick to "hide the decline." Curry and Muller belong to a team of researchers at the University of California known as the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project. While Muller claims their research shows global warming of nearly 1°C since 1950, Curry told The Mail on Sunday, "There is no scientific basis for saying that warming hasn't stopped. To say that there is detracts from the credibility of the data."
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is probing a $730 million conditional loan commitment to Severstal, a Russian company operating mainly in the steel and mining industry. Writing to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the California Congressman questioned whether Severstal North America, a subsidiary of the powerhouse Russian manufacturer, should benefit from public financing to improve and expand facilities in Dearborn, Michigan.