When researching the sales tax issue, I came across this web page: http://www.newrules.org/retail/rules/internet-sales-tax-fairness
The article explains the rationale behind a nationwide effort to apply state sales taxes equally to all sellers so that local retailers aren’t at a competitive disadvantage. One person commenting on the article stated: “I own a ski and snowboard shop and have been open for 15 years. Over the past 5 years we have seen the increase in internet sales first hand. But not in our favor. Why there is not a national internet sales tax program by now just kills me. We keep our business plan very simple, work hard and take care of our customers. Everyday we fit people in boots and skis knowing we are loosing the sale to the internet. Not fair at all. With the increase of internet sales there has to be a decrease somewhere else. Well guess what. It is at the local retail level. With less sales means less jobs. Less tax revenue at the state level. Come on government! WAKE UP!”
It is amazing to me that we have devolved to the point that we now expect government to apply an unfair, unwarranted tax levied against locals, to non-locals in an attempt to level the playing field. In fairness, proponents of this legislation will point out that the sales tax is technically still due on internet purchases, but is not enforceable, so adding the administrative burden to the internet retailer merely provides a means to enforce a pre-existing tax requirement. I, however, am not persuaded. They are presuming that the sales tax is appropriate, and only trying to figure out how to make everyone pay. They are also accepting the fallacy that imposing a burden on a heretofore unimpeded group is a net gain for all. What happened to the idea that the sales tax may be inherently flawed and wrong on its face and extending it to internet providers cost the consumer by eliminating one of the few remaining free markets?
Sales taxes are meant to be ubiquitous — a tax that applies to all things bought by all persons to generate revenues to provide services that equally benefit all. If that were true, I might support the notion, but it is very far from the truth. First, sales taxes are exempt from certain coveted commodities like food staples. The impact of exempting staples transfers the tax burden of universally required services from everyone to only those that make so-called discretionary purchases. Exempting staples is similar to exempting online retailers in that it affords an unfair advantage to the items not taxed. The argument is made that those with discretionary money are better able to afford the sales tax, but that argument is flawed because the tax is for services that all supposedly need and benefit from. If all benefit, then all should pay EQUALLY.
Instead this sort of tax is charged to some to provide for “all.” Supposedly everyone benefits from police, fire, schools and roads. But is that even really true? These services are almost uniformly more beneficial for the poor than for the rich. The rich use private schools, and statistically use lesser amounts of all other public services. The sales tax steals from the well-to-do in order to subsidize those without. I also do not think you can empirically demonstrate that these services “elevate” the poor in any way that causes an overall benefit for all.
It should also be noted that sales taxes are also inefficient – much more money goes to administration, waste and abuse than meets the eye. I would object to them even if 100% of the sales tax went directly to essential services; in reality these sales taxes go to a variety of things that are neither universal nor beneficial. In the end, sales taxes collect from some to provide for others, are therefore redistributive and socialistic.
Beyond philosophy, sales taxes also steal from the local retailer. Market conditions dictate the cost of any particular product, sales taxes artificially inflate those cost and steal either profit from the retailer or buying capacity from the consumer. In tight economic times, consumers have very little excess capacity, so in most cases, sales taxes constitute theft from the retailer. If the margins on products are thin enough, the end result is that local businesses fail – no business, no jobs.
Applying sales taxes to internet retailers doesn’t level the playing field, but merely extends a notoriously bad idea to redistribute money from a victim that derive absolutely no benefit from the tax; classic taxation without representation. Instead of singing praises for legislature’s efforts to hamstring yet another business sector, we should be developing methods of commerce that completely avoid these forms of taxes and work hard to deprive the Marxist of the tools they need to destroy our society.
Civil Societies do not object to appropriate taxes for desired services. Today in our country, however, we have spun out of control robbing working and industrious people to provide for the lazy and unproductive. Ayn Rand may very well have been right; who is John Galt?