Internet Sales Tax

In case you were wondering, I have decided that I am opposed to the current proposal to tax internet sales transactions.

I am, generally, sympathetic to the problem of lost revenue and competitive advantage given to online vendors over bricks and mortar. It's a distortion in the market that could encourage a death spiral where anyone in my neighborhood has to be driven out of business because they have a structural price disadvantage - at least if you ignore shipping.

However, I note that sales tax is considered to be the most regressive way to get revenue. It makes me a little suspicious when we have Republican support for a tax increase. If they support it, I figure it's going to turn out badly for me.

But, more important is the part where it makes it so that we are all at risk of being involved with any tax authority in the country whenever we do business on the internet. This seems to me a little like searches at airports. Sure, there's a 'reason' but it is actually a checkpoint where you have to ask the government for permission to travel.

I suspect that adding sales tax to the internet will be another way that we put an instrument on the net that will put more of us in a position to be troubled by the government. Unlike a garage sale, the internet keeps a record. That means that the piece of Craig's list crap you sell to someone in Alabama, well, that means the Alabama Dept of Revenue owns a piece of your ass.

If the sums were huge, I might still be swayed in support but, this tax will produce something like $23 billion. That's 5% of the defense budget, not including wars.

That tells me that there is something else going on. I don't know what it is but, when the corporatists in Washington get together to add a tax that will affect everyone that ever wants to sell something using the internet, I am very suspicious.