The latest scheme by those in government to attempt to prevent the American population from peacefully subverting their kleptocracy via the use of twenty-first century technology is the taxation – currently at the state level – of online sales and downloads.
Currently, from the governmental perspective, the practice is less than perfect: An early 1990s ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court held that a retailer must have an actual physical presence in a jurisdiction in order to be subject to its sales tax. That is, unless the government of the state where it is located is one of the 22 currently comprising the Streamlined Sales Tax Project – a coalition of state governments who seek to do what federal politicians are also working on – the creation of a uniform and universal means of taxing sales on the Internet.
Amazon.com, to their credit, have just withdrawn their Associates Program – an incentive deal whereby private entrepreneurs may place Amazon ads on their own websites, and profit from any business this generates for the multimedia retailer – in Hawaii, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, and has promised it will do so in California as well if similar legislation there is not halted. What the governments of the aforementioned states have proposed is that a mere electronic banner ad posted on a server in that jurisdiction constitutes an actual physical presence there. They have ascribed brick and mortar status to groups of electronic pixels. The net result, as a hypothetical example, would be that a customer in Virginia, who clicks on an affiliate’s ad in California, in order to buy a hammer from a hardware store in Vermont, would then owe California sales tax.
It’s not difficult to see that Internet technology frightens politicians. Without an ability to intrude upon and invade private commerce, they see that most people choose to “do business” with those other than them. They see also that many people feel their money is best spent elsewhere than on more and more government programs replete with waste and corruption – most of which are not even crucial to the continuation of society in the first place. Indeed, many of them are overtly destructive of this end.
Amazon.com, thus far, however, has chosen to approach this matter as a “constitutional” issue, and is openly calling for a streamlined federal Internet taxation scheme. It seems all too many members of Congress are happy to accomodate, citing almost unanimously the “need” for the poor underfed state governments not to “lose” revenue. If the public perception were that government programs and policies are so wonderful and necessary, why is taxation by coercive force ever necessary? Why do governments not seek voluntary contributions and consensual customers – like the Amazon Associates? Moreover, by enacting such schemes, the net result may well be the total stymie of such business, creating an even less vibrant economy in an atmosphere of sour markets and high unemployment already. Further, governments may well be cutting off their noses to spite their faces in that such a downturn will also reduce income tax and other revenues.
Clearly, no equitable answers are to be found in the grasping, domineering thievery of government. People are perfectly capable of purchasing the goods and services they need or want without being bullied. The needy, in a stateless society, would be far more well taken care of by a far more prosperous general public. Taxation is nothing but straight-up unmitigated theft. Ultimately, the only rationale for governments to exist is their own insatiable need to control others in order to continue to eke out a parasitic life at the expense of the unwilling. And all this has ever produced, history shows, is destitution, tyranny, death, and misery.