As we have already observed on this blog, the internet is a great economic success of our time because it offers users, innovators, and communicators unprecedented freedom and opportunity.

But some in the U.S. Senate don’t like this freedom for economic activity and want to burden the internet with taxes so that it will become as stagnant as the rest of the economy.

The Wall Street Journal today notes:

Get ready for new taxes on your monthly Internet access bill. A pending plan on Capitol Hill would extend the current ban on such taxes—but only until just after the November elections. Pro-tax politicians think they can get away with soaking consumers once they've left the voting booth.

The Internet Tax Freedom Act, which since 1998 has prevented taxes on email and Internet access services, is due to expire on November 1. The House passed a permanent extension of the law in July on a voice vote, demonstrating broad bipartisan support. But the Senate has refused to act.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, working with Senators like Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) and Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.), has instead been holding the email tax ban hostage unless their colleagues also agree to give states and localities new powers to reach outside their borders and demand tax collections from online merchants.

Since Mr. Reid won't agree to a clean long-term extension of the popular law, this week House Republicans added a short-term extension to the continuing resolution (CR) intended to prevent another government shutdown. But the measure, expected to be voted on next week, would keep the Internet Tax Freedom Act alive only until December 11. We're told the Senate funding bill will have a similar patch. This means the tax-the-Internet caucus can then seek to gouge consumers during a lame-duck session of Congress following the elections when Mr. Reid is still running the Senate.

The editorial argues that House leaders could better protect us by rewriting the funding bill to extend the tax ban into 2015. If the ban on internet tax is lifted, you can get ready for 9,600 state and local taxing authorities to make your internet use more expensive.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is in favor of a permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, and so your internet use is just one more thing that will be affected by the midterms.