THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 733, August 11, 2013
Over the next several years, the most
important issue in American history will
be decided. Freedom or non-freedom.
Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
I was looking at some of the ways Senator Enzi was attempting to justify an Internet sales tax. It would put "Main Street businesses on a level playing field with online retailers." What's more it would provide $23 billion in "fiscal relief" to states.
Ah, euphemism. Where would government be without it?
I guess the days of Republicans sneering at "tax and spend Democrats" are over...
Funny, my wife has a retail business in Enzi's own state of Wyoming, and I never once heard her saying she wants an Internet tax. Of course, rather than whining that her Main Street shop is getting unfair competition from the Internet, she has also a web site where she sells the same products, just as any retailer could do. And of course, everything she sells in her shop, she has to purchase from somewhere, and many of those purchases come via Internet, and lots of business communication is via Internet. It's just another tool for the retailer. In fact the Internet has been a great boon for small businesses as anyone with half a brain would realize.
I never heard any other retailer wishing the Internet were taxed, either.
We also never heard Enzi or any of his staff ask us what we thought of an Internet sales tax. Not so much as an email from him. Yet he claims to speak for small business owners.
Funny thing about this tax is that it comes in the form of a state sales tax. So, far from leveling the playing field, Enzi's bill does the opposite: it puts the businesses that sell through the Internet doing business in states with sales tax, at a disadvantage to such businesses in states without the sales tax. Many businesses will simply set up Internet sales operations and warehouses in states like Oregon and Montana, which don't charge a sales tax. So Enzi is really screwing the people in his own state. No wonder he is retiring soon. I wonder if Wyomingites will hold a "necktie party" for him anyway?
Enzi states there is a "small business exemption" which allows small businesses with an online presence to avoid the theft, er, I mean, tax. Somehow that promise vaguely reminds me of the promises thrown around when the federal income tax was first proposed — to only ding the very top earners, and by only a few percent. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
You can trust your politicians to be honest, eh? Mencken said of politicians, "People do not expect to find chastity in a whorehouse. Why, then, do they expect to find honesty and humanity in government, a congeries of institutions whose modus operandi consists of lying, cheating, stealing, and if need be, murdering those who resist?"
And what do states do with this extra $23 billion out of our pockets, anyway? Buy more bureaucrats to suck our blood. Fatten the public employee union pensions some more.
If states really wanted to help small businesses, they already have it in their power to do so. All they have to do, is stop taxing and regulating the businesses in their jurisdiction to death. But that would get in the way of government employees living it up at our expense. We realize that the agency that takes on (usurps) the job of "protecting" us, is the very one we need protecting from, the very one driving small businesses into insolvency at the behest of their cronies in the multinationals.
Two "gentlemen of Sicilian persuasion", both wearing overcoats, enter a shop. The larger one is carrying a baseball bat. The other, older one speaks to the shop owner:
Enzi: "How do you do. This here friend of mine is Luigi. My name is Mike Enzi, but you may call me 'Senator Enzi'...
Luigi: "Or 'Honorable'. Call him 'Honorable'." He snickers.
Enzi: "Shaddup! I'm doin' the talkin' here! What was I sayin', oh yeah. This is a very dangerous neighborhood. You never know when some thug is going to walk in and bust your knees or sumpin' like that." [Luigi swings the bat and a few bottles are knocked off the shelves and smash on the floor.] "I have a business, called the Enzi Protection Agency..."
Luigi: "We call it 'the Racket', huh huh."
Enzi: "Shaddup I said! He don't care about that! Anyway, continuin', my agency is prepared to offer protection from these here thugs for a nominal sum. All the other businesses around here employ my agency, and I hafta say, it's only fair that you should chip in too, to 'level the playing field', you know. Ya wouldn't want people thinkin' you're a free rider or anythin' like that."
Shop Owner: "But, I don't need your services. Also, I talk to the other shop owners and I never once heard them complaining I am taking unfair advantage of them for not paying your protection racket. In fact a couple of them were complaining about the Racket. I think the rest were too scared to complain."
Enzi, menacingly: "Who said anythin' bad about my company?"
Shop Owner: "Uh, I forgot. But no one here actually needs your 'help'."
Enzi, in a rage: "Bullshit! For that you will pay some more! Luigi, show 'im!"
My apologies to the Mafia, for comparing them with such a disreputable organization as the government, in this article.