Thursday, July 09, 2015
There's a sneaky proposal in Congress -- backed by many Republicans --
to enable states to make out-of-state businesses collect sales taxes
from online purchases. Among the many silly arguments being used to
foist this on the public is that it is more convenient
than the way such taxes are currently collected:
It doesn't have to be this hard. If Congress would pass eFairness legislation online retailers would simply collect and remit sales and use taxes for you at the time of purchase. Brick and mortar retailers do this on every purchase already and there are several companies that offer online retailers the ability to fully automate tax collection and remittance, so we know it isn't too complicated to do. Additionally, this streamlined process would ensure that cities and states governments get the funds they need to operate.First, just because computers make something easier doesn't mean it's a good idea. Second, I'd personally find having more of my own money more convenient than having it stolen more efficiently. (Note that such an option isn't even on the radar for these people.) The people for whom this proposal is truly convenient are the loot-and-spend politicians who do not stand for limited government.
I discuss the "efairness" proposal more at RealClear Markets:
... As early as 2001, William F. Buckley advised the Republicans "come to Earth" and find a way to collect state sales taxes. Buckley even had the gall to frame the idea as a blow for limited government: "The mattress maker in Connecticut is willing to compete with the company in Massachusetts, but does not like it if out-of-state businesses are, in practical terms, subsidized." Hogwash. The Massachusetts company is no more subsidized by not being taxed than a schoolyard bully's non-victims are getting free lunches. Unfortunately, as historian C. Bradley Thompson once argued, conservatives seem more interested in taking over the welfare state than ending it...The idea that the government forcibly taking money from other people is "fair," so long as everyone gets robbed is egalitarianism, pure and simple, and it disgusts me to see that the party that frequently bills itself as getting the government out of our wallets is pushing this.