Marketplace Fairness Act

Henry Percy
When is a tax not a tax? Why, when it promotes "fairness," when it creates a "level playing field," when it enjoys "bipartisan support."

So is everybody on board with the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which will force everyone who buys on the Internet to pay sales tax?

Here's what the New York Times has to say: "Lawmakers from both parties are poised to steamroll opponents and greatly broaden the imposition of sales taxes on the Internet." Uh oh, "steamroll." That's pretty harsh language, coming from the NY Times.

The president supports it too, for it "will level the playing field for local small business retailers that are in competition every day with large out-of-state online companies." Boy, "level playing field" just sends a tingle up my leg. Here's a question, Mr. President: If the Marketplace Fairness Act is tailored to help out "local small business retailers," why are its two biggest cheerleaders WalMart and Amazon? Well, WalMart sees an opportunity to steamroll more competitors, while Amazon "coincidentally now sells its own tax compliance service to other merchants." What a disappointment. I thought they were doing this to help out "local small business retailers."

Bipartisan support, fairness, level playing field. Presses all my feel-good buttons. How could any be opposed? I'll raise my hand. Anyone who's been on eBay since the late 90s as I have cannot help but notice the phenomenal growth of mainland Chinese vendors from zero just a few years ago to dominance in some fields. They're all going to collect sales taxes and remit them to the 9,600 US tax jurisdictions? But, someone says, we can audit them, just like American companies can be audited. Sure we can. Just like we enforce US intellectual property laws in China. Yep, no more counterfeiting of Western goods at all in China now.

This morning I called my senators' Washington, DC, offices to see how they will vote. Megan answered Mr. Flake's phone. She has no idea how he will vote. Oh, of course not. There's a public "servant," too coy about an important vote to express any opinion. Megan did not bother to write down my name or phone number or address, but she promised to pass my sentiments on to the senator. Mr. Flake has been in office all of 3 months, and already he's way too comfortable with the bipartisan logrolling. It's going to be a long 6 years, Senator.

Next I dialed Sen. McCain, pressing 2 to speak to a person now. After it rang 20 times I hung up and redialed. Same nonresponse. Our senior senator is beyond the charade of pretending to listen to his constituents back home. Such are the workings of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.

 

When is a tax not a tax? Why, when it promotes "fairness," when it creates a "level playing field," when it enjoys "bipartisan support."

So is everybody on board with the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which will force everyone who buys on the Internet to pay sales tax?

Here's what the New York Times has to say: "Lawmakers from both parties are poised to steamroll opponents and greatly broaden the imposition of sales taxes on the Internet." Uh oh, "steamroll." That's pretty harsh language, coming from the NY Times.

The president supports it too, for it "will level the playing field for local small business retailers that are in competition every day with large out-of-state online companies." Boy, "level playing field" just sends a tingle up my leg. Here's a question, Mr. President: If the Marketplace Fairness Act is tailored to help out "local small business retailers," why are its two biggest cheerleaders WalMart and Amazon? Well, WalMart sees an opportunity to steamroll more competitors, while Amazon "coincidentally now sells its own tax compliance service to other merchants." What a disappointment. I thought they were doing this to help out "local small business retailers."

Bipartisan support, fairness, level playing field. Presses all my feel-good buttons. How could any be opposed? I'll raise my hand. Anyone who's been on eBay since the late 90s as I have cannot help but notice the phenomenal growth of mainland Chinese vendors from zero just a few years ago to dominance in some fields. They're all going to collect sales taxes and remit them to the 9,600 US tax jurisdictions? But, someone says, we can audit them, just like American companies can be audited. Sure we can. Just like we enforce US intellectual property laws in China. Yep, no more counterfeiting of Western goods at all in China now.

This morning I called my senators' Washington, DC, offices to see how they will vote. Megan answered Mr. Flake's phone. She has no idea how he will vote. Oh, of course not. There's a public "servant," too coy about an important vote to express any opinion. Megan did not bother to write down my name or phone number or address, but she promised to pass my sentiments on to the senator. Mr. Flake has been in office all of 3 months, and already he's way too comfortable with the bipartisan logrolling. It's going to be a long 6 years, Senator.

Next I dialed Sen. McCain, pressing 2 to speak to a person now. After it rang 20 times I hung up and redialed. Same nonresponse. Our senior senator is beyond the charade of pretending to listen to his constituents back home. Such are the workings of the World's Greatest Deliberative Body.

Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at saler.50d[at]gmail.com.