William Thien

First A Tax on Internet Sales, Then a Tax on Internet News Web Sites. It Will Never Stop.

Posted on: May 7, 2013

I was not surprised when The Senate voted to tax internet sales. Brick and Mortar retailers were complaining that such sales were not taxed an therefor internet retailers had an unfair pricing advantage. The real problem is that retail, like any other business, changes. One hundred years ago when you first went to an old-time grocery store you gave the clerk a list of things and he went to select them off of a shelf. Then, grocery stores realized it was more profitable to let the customer go and select them from a shelf themselves and they put the products where customers could reach them. Grocer retail evolved just like retail has generally evolved. Most brick and mortar retailers have an internet presence, if they are with the times that is, if they want to operate successfully in the “internet age.” It’s not the consumer’s fault brick and mortar only retailers are not up to date in a retail sense. So, why is the Senate punishing the consumer on behalf again of what is really a special interest group (the legislation is being pushed by a consortium sponsored by brick and mortar retailers)? Is it because they want the tax revenue or is it simply because they don’t have a clue what is best for the public? Really?

But even worse, such a vote indicates something much more pervasive, that in the future if you want to read the local or national newspaper online, you will be taxed. If you want to stream a radio broadcast, you will be taxed. If you want to view a free online video site, there will be a tax, all because a bunch of brick and mortar retailers don’t want to update their sales floor and keep up with the demand and delivery method as it has changed.

Congress must not support any internet tax legislation. The internet signal as it passes through the wire or the air is already taxed when you pay your phone or internet bill. One tax on the internet is enough.

It is unfortunate for those brick and mortar retailers that haven’t kept up but the clarion call about how profitable it can be to sell on the internet has been loud and clear for well over a decade now. That’s what business is all about. Keep up with the times or go out of business. It really is a business matter, not one of taxes.

Congress must not pass the Senate’s internet tax legislation.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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