Sunday, September 16, 2012

Californian Amazon Users Now Pay More

Online shopping is fast, easy and, well.... it used to be cheaper. Amazon.com is now forced to charge sales tax on items shipped to the state of California.

Many are actually celebrating these turn of events; most of them are legislatures, who now get to siphon off even more cash from the public, and those shop owners who do not wish to legitimately compete for their patron's business. How horrible a thing to celebrate the use of force on the buying public and fellow businesspeople at that.

The logic of those happy with the news is hopelessly skewed. Owners of physical stores complain that Amazon.com takes away potential customers by offering the same goods at a cheaper price by not collecting sales tax (since Amazon exists as a virtual business and not as a physical location). This may or may not be an explanation for Amazon's ability to charge the lower price in every instance. However, why should smaller businesses call for their competitor to get slapped with a tax when they could call for the tax(es) to be lowered or removed so they can charge a lower price and compete? Would a physical store not benefit far more by being allowed to charge a lower (or no) tax rather than forcing Amazon.com to charge the same high tax?

Although petty business owners and greedy legislatures are loving this unjust coercion of one popular business, few Californian customers must be celebrating since they now must pay more for online products. So here is a toast to Amazon.com Tax Day - let them eat cake!

Of course, California is just the next in a wave of states descending on Amazon.com looking for more tax revenue to collect and people to bully. Clearly, one company cannot put up enough of a fight against the coercive power of the state. The people must also stand up and demand the lowering or elimination of sales taxes on Amazon.com if the internet marketplace is to be free. As Amazon goes, so goes the rest of the internet.

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