OVERREACHES. While the Federal Government is constitutionally supposed to be the creature of the states, it is made to be over them in some regards to prevent the kind of internecine trade warfare that marred the period of the states united under the Articles of Confederation. It is for this reason that there is a line in Article I, Section 9: “No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.”
This is in a section placing limits on Congress, yes. But at the head of the section, it reads, “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Meaning that the power to lay such taxes would ordinarily belong to Congress, but it is forbidden to it. Also, please note that the clause does not say, “Congress shall lay no…” Oh, no. It says, “No tax or duty shall be laid…” That’s an absolute proscription, placed on ALL parties who might think on the subject.
Including, I might point out, state governments.
But, the statists in Albany might object, what’s being exported are not articles, but electrons.
I suspect atomic physicists might argue that point with you.
But let that lie for the nonce. You statists are always the ones saying we should update the Constitution to adapt to modern times. Nest paw? So, here’s your big chance. The intent was that interstate commerce should not be hampered by barriers to traffic placed by state governments. Thus the power to tax it is forbidden — not only the states — but ALL government players. So let’s update that from “articles” to “goods” and we’re done.
Obviously, an MP3 is a good, for which Apple (et al) are charging American dollars. State governments don’t have the power to tax that unless the transaction has both ends — buyer and seller — within the state in question and the product at no time ever leaves the state.
Given the nature of the Internet, that last is never going to happen.
And the statists in Albany will whinge that they’ll have to forgo billions of dollars in taxes.
And the liberty-loving folk out here in the country reply: That that is not a bug; that’s a feature.