This is not the “fair tax” you were looking for…

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GOOD NEWS! (…not really.) Congress is legislating a brand new path to fairness! The Marketplace Fairness Act.

TheBlaze.com reports:

States could force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes under a bill that overwhelmingly passed a test vote in the Senate Monday.

Under current law, states can only require stores to collect sales taxes if the store has a physical presence in the state. As a result, many online sales are essentially tax-free, giving Internet retailers a big advantage over brick-and-mortar stores.

The bill would allow states to require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where shoppers live.

The Senate voted 74 to 20 to begin debating the bill. If that level of support continues, the Senate could pass the bill as early as this week.

Supporters say the bill is about fairness for businesses and lost revenue for states. Opponents say it would impose complicated regulations on retailers and doesn’t have enough protections for small businesses. Businesses with less than $1 million a year in online sales would be exempt.

“I like marketplaces and I like fairness.  This must be good,” Stu joked after Glenn announced the new bill.

The Marketplace Fairness T̶a̶x̶ …er… Act, is designed to “level the playing field”. That’s the progressive way of saying, ‘lowering the level of competition, thereby hurting the consumer.’

Sure…a lot of people are describing this legislation as an “internet tax,” but don’t pay attention to that, if it’s fairness, it much be good!

What does this really mean for the marketplace and you the consumer? Last night on Real News the panel took a closer look at what the implications are for the free market.

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According to Reason Magazine columnist Veronique De Rugy, “this type of bill is only fair for the people who think that government should be able to maximize tax revenue.” She continued to say that, “from the consumer perspective, what this would mean is that effectively you would be in a state of tax harmonization. It wouldn’t actually matter where you buy anything, and whether you buy it in your state or online for tax reasons. You would always be subjected to the rate of your state. That is tax harmonization.”

While “tax harmonization” may sound like a good thing, De Rugy went on to describe tax harmonization as “tax imprisonment”.

“I think it is terrible for competition. We know that competition forces companies and states to actually compete and treat the consumer better, because consumers have a choice.”

This legislation has been fought against by free-market conservatives for nearly 15 years. But, as Buck points out, if Congress does pass the law, there is no constitutional argument because this is interstate commerce and within the boundaries of power of the federal government.

One of the most notable aspects to the proposed “internet tax” is that it’s a blatant tax-grab. Currently, there are a LOT of problems with the tax code. None of those problems is interstate tax evasion.

  • landofaahs

    I’m against any tax generally but if it goes to the states then it’s not as bad.  Besides, if I don’t want to buy it, I’m not forced to.  I can see why Glenn hates it since it would cut into his companies profits.  Frankly if you can barter for things locally, you can avoid sales tax etc. legally.  Help your local economy as much as possible.

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Call it for what you think it is people, but a tax is still a tax.

    This is just another move to establish control over businesses by the Democratic Socialists. There is no fairness at all, no level playing field, unless you consider the destruction of all open competition to be that way. How many small businesses based upon the internet will now be gone for good? How much economic upheaval is waiting in the wings?

    When will people finally say ‘enough.’ 

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    Consider this much people, what will be the next “Fairness’ that will be sought by businesses of the Federal government to limit their competition?

    Why is there selective protectionism going on inside the nation, and not to all who make purchases from outside the nation as well? How is it ‘fair’ that Americans have to pay a higher taxation rate now than anyone overseas who orders American goods and has them shipped to them?

  • landofaahs

    I think we need a “Fairy tax”.  A fair tax would take the same percentage from everyone no matter the income.

  • landofaahs

    I think we need a “Fairy tax”.  A fair tax would take the same percentage from everyone no matter the income.

  • landofaahs

    When it’s too late.

  • landofaahs

    When it’s too late.

  • Anonymous

    How does it hurt competition to make all stores charge the same tax rate? RIght now, giant internet retailers like Amazon don’t pay any sales taxes, and your local physical store does, so it’s cheaper at Amazon. How is that good for competition?

  • Anonymous

    LOL. There you go with that group again. They are a tiny advocacy group. They are not a political party and don’t have candidates. It’s like being afraid of the Shriners. You’re so afraid of this tiny, harmless group. 
    Hilarious.

  • Anonymous

    The store still has to pay it. That just means the store makes less money. Taking food out of their children’s mouths.

  • MarsBarsTru7

    This is just one of numerous articles I’ve read of late that almost leaves me at a loss for words. I mean, we’ve accepted so much that our government has shoved down our throats, how can one be more outraged about this than any of the other bills that are just as insane and contradictory to liberty?

    And the name… it’s like they went into Atlas Shrugged or into legislation passed in the early 20th century to come up with the name. Marketplace Fairness Act? Yes, and the act that designates everyone born to be tested for diseases to determine whether or not the baby deserves to live will be the Everybody Healthy Act. And the act that determines that no one should be allowed to own or possess weapon of any kind will be the Safety Rights Act.

    Often times my initial reaction to this stuff is: This can’t be real. I mean, am I on some cosmic reality television show being pranked or something? I just don’t understand how so many of my fellow countrymen can be this insane. How long before it’s common in this country to hear regular people and politicians quoting Lenin and Mao on a regular basis? Oh wait… some of Obama’s stuff does come from that school.

    People, there is no more preventing a dystopia or waiting it out to see if this become a dystopia or to see if a dystopia is even possible. We’re living it.

  • MarsBarsTru7

    LOL. Snowleopard is one person. There’s no conspiracy. There’s no group. Snowleopard isn’t dangerous. So why are you afraid of snowleopard? It’s like being afraid of a church choir. You’re so afraid of this one harmless person.

    Pathetic.

  • MarsBarsTru7

    You can not avoid tax legally by bartering. One may barter, but both sides of a barter transaction have to pay tax on the bartering transaction. Furthermore, there are varying degrees to the market value on the product you barter. Local government may value a specific product at one product price point, while the state gives it another value, and the federal government gives it another value. Local, state, and federal government only accept $dollar payments for market transactions.

    So, while you may barter, you also still have to come up with the payments owed to each level of government for the transaction, and that means accumulating cash from somewhere.

    The law in this country is set up so that the only way you can reasonably barter on a regular basis is if you live like the Amish (who are exempt from bartering laws as long as they trade with one another) or own a large corporation which trades commodities on a grand scale and pays for accountants to constantly keep track of taxes and fees associated with bartering. This is intentional, as admitted by the lawmakers who pushed for the laws associated with bartering.

  • MarsBarsTru7

    From the IRS:
    http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc420.html

    Other IRS statements on bartering:

    “The non-cash transactions give rise to taxable income for both parties of the exchange, regardless of whether the exchange is made directly or through a bartering club.”

    “Fair market value is defined as the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or sell, and both having reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts. Fair market value may not be determined by a forced sale price, nor by the sale price of the item in a market other than that in which that item is most commonly sold to the public, taking into account the location of the item wherever appropriate. Thus, in the case of an item that is generally sold at retail, the fair market value is the price at which the item or a comparable item would be sold.”

  • Anonymous

    If the government wanted to do something rational about this tax situation, they would require companies that sell on the internet to send a statement to their customers at the end of the year detailing their purchases for the year. That is information they could easily and inexpensively produce.  It is already the law that anyone who buys something without paying tax in their state is responsible for voluntarily paying use tax (same as sales tax).  That would avoid the company having to calculate all the different taxes for every state and locality and put the burden on the consumer, who would only have to know their local tax rate.  That said, not sure we need new taxes at all, but we surely don’t need to put the brakes on the one engine of growth and entrepreneurship that is working.  Also, don’t you wonder who owns a piece of the company writing the program to calculate the sales tax, which every retailer will need to buy?  

  • Anonymous

    Hey, how much money did you get fucked out of in Beck’s gold scam?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeff.webley.98 Jeff Webley

    what is wrong with states collecting sales taxes that would normally be added onto a sale if someone comes into my shop?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.perlick Jim Perlick

    Do you remember the Sears, Montgomery Wards, and JC Penney catalogs? When you bought something it was only taxed in the state where these companies resided, otherwise no tax. This has been the standard for years. So why should the internet be any different?  

  • bucketnutz

    It is never going to be fair and it is never going to be enough,,they really believe it is their money to take.

  • T M

    Why don’t you folks go to a site called “fairtax.org” and spend some time at the site, read carefully and understand. I know this has nothing to do with the tax your are talking about right now but this may be a solution whose time has come.

  • James LaBarre

    I think if companies/sellers are expected to collect sales tax, it should be for the location of the *seller*.  Far simpler for them to calculate, the seller can post their rates right in the catalog/website.  And for those who say it would be unfair for places with higher taxes, I say damn right.  It would force states & counties to *compete* for business.  If some state wants to attract mail-order businesses, they would have to reduce their sales tax rates.  Not only would that benefit out-of-area buyers, but also the residents of that community. 
      
    In the end, attracting business by reducing tax rates would probably even benefit those local/state governments.  Except they’d actually have to do some actual *work* to earn that money, rather than simply stealing it he way they usually do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Layna-Palmer/100000091668399 Layna Palmer

    This is ridiculous!  I work for an online company that owns three retail sites.  What a nightmare this would be for our programers to figure out the taxes for each state, county, city and town on each purchase!  When I look at a receipt from my city, I not only pay my state taxes, but my county and city as well…think of the number of towns in each state then figuring out by zip code how to tax each purchaser?  We’ll be out of business because we’ll have to raise prices just to pay the computer programmers to create the program that interfaces with each state and their tax statutes.  STUPID, STUPID STUPID!!!

  • Greg Williams

    Can’t wait until they tax the stock sells.  That’s where the money is.  What are their names…etrade? scott trade?  can you see investors paying an 8 to 10% sales tax when buying stock?

  • Greg Williams

    you said it…it’s cheaper…that’s good for the consumer.  that’s why competition is good.  it reduces costs for the consumer.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/zerses Zerses

    As long as mom and pop shops (and even Amazon) are subject to the ridiculous shipping costs we have now, there will NEVER be an “advantage” to ONLINE stores.

    Not many times can I now get anything less on the net than locally….

    The days of the “internet deal” are about over – and that from someone who watched the net start – refuse to allow commerce and then roll over to allow and then push online business – we’ve come a long way since the late 80s but not far enough.

    This is a TAX we don’t need and one that will cause HARM to American businesses.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/zerses Zerses

     It’s just too bad that all of us who of the same mind can’t all be in the same area…

  • https://twitter.com/#!/zerses Zerses

    You are one sick person.

    Gold about for making money… it’s in CASE the GOVERNMENT turns off CASH and they CAN and most likely WILL.

  • landofaahs

    Ben Franklin’s statement on reporting: Two men can keep a secret as long as one of them is dead.
    If I trade beef with my neighbor for fruit, that is nobody’s business. Farmers trade labor all the time and frankly I support the idea of underground economies. It is a growing movement and even though I have no need to join that movement, I do relish seeing it. Congressmen and presidents do “FAVORS” for each other all the time. Do they report that benefit to the IRS? If I’m audited I am confident I’m OK because I don’t report all the deductions I could. If I’m ever audited, they will end up paying me not the reverse. I just don’t thieves.

  • landofaahs

    Stores just collect the sales tax from the customer and remit it to the state. I don’t understand how that takes food out of children’s mouths unless you are talking about the consumers paying more for food.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4HAW7OERGSC7VZM72V7IGDJ3B4 Sharmane

    The vultures are continually scavenging for more and more money to then give to parasites and otherwise piddle away on nonsense.  So much waste and fraud.  What they really want is all our money, and then they will let us know how much we can have to use ourselves as they determine.   Pimps, thugs and prostitutes run our country with few exceptions (no disrespect meant to pimps, thugs and prostitutes by comparing you to politicians).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4HAW7OERGSC7VZM72V7IGDJ3B4 Sharmane

     I see you have crawled back out from under your rock.

  • http://twitter.com/fawnday Dawn Brayton

    Oh neat, my shop is exempt from taxes. But seriously, don’t internet shoppers pay sales tax anyway right now? Extra money for shippping is like a tax. All mail order and online companies have that. So this Marketplace thing would be a tax on top of a tax.

  • MarsBarsTru7

     Well, that depends on when people jumped on board the gold train. If by f***ed, you mean bought at under $800/oz (under $600/oz going back to his pre-CNN years) as he was telling people to buy gold going waaaay back into the Bush years, then being able to sell for well over $10,000/oz, then yeah, a lot of people probably got f***ed. I’m sure you’re still kicking yourself that you didn’t get f***ed like that.

    But even if you bought bullion for $18,000/oz all you have to do is hold onto it. It’s going to go back up over $18,000/oz. More than likely within the next 5 years. But buying gold isn’t about making quick gains off a fiat currency with it. Otherwise, it would be the same as investing in the stock market. Gold’s best purpose as an investment is as a hedge against unstable economies.

    Make money and use what money you need to for regular life, and keep a gold hedge. It’s a hell of a lot better to have your savings in gold than in a savings account, as a savings account at or near 0% interest is like throwing away your money at the inflation rate while your dollars deplete in value. That’s what people who are wise with their wealth do. Just thought I’d let you in on that basic economic nugget since you don’t seem to have a clue.

  • MarsBarsTru7

    It’s not stupid. Do you honestly think they don’t know what they’re doing? I know exactly what you’re saying, and you’re right on about the effect it will have… for everyone that isn’t a giant corporation that pays on-hand accountants and lawyers all the time just to handle things like this.

    Understand: They want you to fail. They want to kill entrepreneurship. They want to end private ownership. They want centralized ownership that becomes “too big to fail” and then by proxy they take over an entire market when they dictate every detail of what the 1-3 corporations that completely dominate the market do. That’s their “peaceful” way of seizing power. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s outlined in books by the likes of Noam Chomsky and other collectivist economists. The politicians we have in office manufacturing legislation like this aren’t doing so by mistake. They aren’t doing this ignorantly. They’ve been brought up believing in this and taught and trained how to do this.

    I don’t know how long it has been for you to come around to start realizing these things but it’s time to be awake and active and spread the word. The Republicans that voted for this are in on it. Guaranteed. They’re all making tons of money off these kinds of laws, just like the people who fund their campaigns are. It’s not just Democrats ruining this country. Republicans like Romney are not our ally in this cultural, political, and ultimately existential war. We are living the dystopia. We can’t afford to vote for “compromise”. We can’t afford to vote for the status quo. We need to vote for people who will tear this monstrous government down, strip it down to its honorable foundation, and rebuild from there.

  • MarsBarsTru7

    All I can say is God bless you and good luck. I’m abiding by the law to the letter myself, for as long as it remains possible. I haven’t figured out whether leaving the country or civil disobedience is the next step if things continue on this path. Either way, I’m going to be attacking these criminals in the courts for the rest of my life, for as long as I’m able.

    But I find myself increasingly sickened by the thought of my tax money contributing to the various causes it contributes to, like murdering babies still in the womb. The thought of paying for drone strikes in the way that they’re being utilized. Paying for Drones over America. Paying for Occupy Wall Street. Paying for the Arab Spring. Paying for Benghazi. Paying for “artists” to piss on a cross or defecate on an image of Christ. Paying for farmers to have their land seized for laws passed intending to destroy the private farm owner. Paying for welfare queens. Paying for Obamaphones. Paying for Obamacare. Paying for bailouts. Paying for an illegitimate President to occupy the White House. Paying paychecks for repellant criminal lowlifes like Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner. Paying paychecks for near moronic individuals to be “heads of state” such as Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters and Joe Biden…

    The list goes on and on.

    And with all the veterans in my family… Knowing what generations before us have fought for – So many of us have been fools for far too long in this ongoing contribution to our own demise. And the most pathetic disgusting and tragic thing of all is to watch the useful idiots cheer for it. Beg for it…

    Suck it up warriors (I tell myself). Reality is rough, but the rewards for fighting the good fight are beyond the reach of parasites and thieves.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brad.parker.167 Brad Parker

     Okay, how hard is it to make a form with drop down boxes with all US States on it, then applying the tax from the state variable field into the transaction form? Doesn’t seem too hard, and this is coming from a programmer’s perspective. If they’re crying about adding this in, then they didn’t make their code flexible enough to be maintained for the long term… which is sad. Shouldn’t take more than a day or so for a competent team of programmers to accomplish. Hiring better programmers who write flexible code would be wiser than raising store prices. Just my two cents.

  • landofaahs

    I’m abiding by the law too. I pay more in taxes than I have to. Certain charities I donate to are ones I do not claim though I could. But do you think people who grow gardens pay taxes on the vegetables they raise? I doubt Michelle Obama did. I just encourage the poor people who have been screwed over by their govt. to use barter because you can save money. It’s not worth it to me because my time is worth more then that.

  • MarsBarsTru7

    The Agriculture Act of 1938 and subsequent laws passed by our government since the Supreme Court supported our federal government’s authority to create and enforce such laws limit the production of various crops and prohibits their distribution as “gifts” or “charity”… especially wheat. And they’re practically rabid about raw milk.

    Just be careful.

  • landofaahs

    The turds of DC are losing. Without the ability to bribe the states, they will lose their power. When they have pitch forks in the streets and no way to extract from the people all hell will break out in the District of Corruption.

  • landofaahs

    I can just leave it out there in the open and if it gets stolen…well..I guess I’ll learn next time.

  • Anonymous

     What you don’t understand is that this company is a family-owned business with 13 employees. We would love to hire more people, especially programmers, but can’t due to the taxes imposed by Obamacare.  I think Mars is right, the goal is not fairness, but control.  We complain that the smaller businesses are not represented in the marketplace then do everything to make sure they are shut down by taxes and regulations.  You can’t have it both ways, you either promote policies that encourage entrepreneurship and small business, or you don’t.  Unfortunately this administration has chosen to blast big corporations while doing everything they can to destroy small business and promote big corporate benefits.

  • MarsBarsTru7

    This elicited a smile. :)