by John Tamny
to the best deals possible,
why can't we go online to find
the best deals
without having our pockets picked?
Just curious, but if a Washington, D.C. resident buys a pack of cigarettes in Arlington, VA, should this person pay a sales tax to the District of Columbia?
Figure that cigarettes cost roughly $5.25/pack in Virginia versus $7.99 in D.C.
Arlington retailers have a significant tax advantage over merchants in the District, so to "level the playing field" shouldn't D.C. residents hand over the difference in taxes?
The tax will ensure that
Washington residents don't cross the bridge in order to get a better
deal, and in the process imperil Capitol-based businesses.
If businesses in low-tax
areas exploit the tax difference, Washington's retailers could be in
a world of hurt, as will be its tax base.
to take our consumption elsewhere,
what's the incentive
for local and state legislators
to keep taxes
Absent our ability to take our consumption elsewhere, what's the incentive for local and state legislators to keep taxes low?
Also, we seem to forget
that local businesses, precisely because they're local, have the
ultimate sales advantage in that they're nearby, sometimes walking
distance, plus they enjoy name recognition that declines the farther
the business is away from the consumer.
Most would say it's our
right to find the best deal possible on goods and services, and this
includes traveling near or far away.
No reasonable person
would support a byzantine system whereby a retailer in Virginia
would collect taxes for Washington D.C.'s Office of Tax and Revenue,
and most would certainly not be pleased if required to report all
purchases outside D.C. so that they could be taxed, but all too many
Internet purchases should be taxed
Worse is that the Supreme Court agrees that the D.C. government should be able to take its cut.
How very shameful...
Seemingly the point of
sales taxes is that they pay for local government services of the
police, fire, and general infrastructure variety. Naturally local
businesses would collect them simply because they're the alleged
beneficiaries of these local services. Not so businesses outside the
It's on the other side of the country, and there the business will pay Pasadena taxes.
So when judges and
politicians talk about the importance of levying sales taxes on
outside vendors, what they're really saying is that they want
government to dip its hands into our pockets twice.
naturally love the idea
of using Internet commerce
as another way
Rather they take our dollars for what they can be exchanged for.
The more tax dollars that politicians collect, the greater their ability to be size buyers of cars, trucks, land, buildings, and most economy-suffocating of all, human labor.
Having decided they're not collecting enough of what we earn, and plainly averse to competing with other locales when it comes to keeping taxes down, gluttonous local governments naturally love the idea of using Internet commerce as another way to take.
Much like businesses that seek protection from competition, they're seeking protection from lower-tax cities, states and countries. To be very clear, they're seeking tariff-protection.
Let's call them
Worse about tariffs is that they shrink the division of labor that enables rampant specialization. Specialization is what drives productivity. Applied to Internet taxes, what harms us globally also harms us locally.
When governments are
empowered to locally tax a transaction that took place far away from
where the consumer actually resides, they're explicitly foisting a
domestic tariff on the transaction.
didn't pick up on
what is plainly a backdoor tariff
foisted on the
A Court that's required to elevate the Constitution, and in doing so ensure that trade among American citizens is regular and free, has empowered cities and states to effectively put up tariff barriers to trade through a wholly invented taxing power.
If this is doubted,
readers need only ask again if they would cheerfully pay local taxes
on transactions made in person, but not in the city or state they
live in. Not a chance.
If cities and states really want a bigger cut of our consumption they should either raise local sales taxes, or they should demand that we report what we purchase outside where we live.
Rather than hiding behind the courts in order to force non-constituent businesses to collect taxes for them, they should stand up and collect taxes on their own.
And when voters vote them
out, a message about excessive taxation will have been sent to all