The Marketplace Fairness Act (the name alone tells you something unfair is about to happen) passed yesterday in the Senate. Seventy Senators voted for it, including our own Republicans, Alexander and Corker.
As Republicans – if they are true Republicans – they should not have done that.
Alexander has been pushing it for awhile. He argues that the “brick and mortar” stores suffer from competition by internet sales companies that don’t pay taxes. Well, they have to pay shipping, don’t they? And many “brick and mortars” also sell on the internet. And, isn’t competition what the U.S. used to be about? We used to believe that the consumer benefited from the free market. Stores would work hard to get your business and that would make them sharper, innovative and cost cutting.
Not good enough for Lamar and Bob. Sadly, other Republicans joined them. Here’s the list:
Blunt (Mo); Boozman (Ark.) – do you think Arkansas based Walmart had an influence on his vote?; Chambliss (Ga) – he’s been a big disappointment!; Coates (Ind); Cochran and Wicker of Mississippi – they should know better; Collins (Me) – not too surprising; Crapo (Id); Enzi (Wy) – he introduced the bill!; Fischer (Ne); Grassley (Iowa) – shame on him!; Hoeven (ND); Isackson – another disappointment from Georgia; Johanns (Ne); McCain (AZ) – again, no surprise; Portman (Ohio) – now in favor of gay marriage, too; Risch (Id); Sessions and Shelby of Alabama – what were they thinking?; Thune (SD). Shame on all of you! Here’s a tip: if you find yourself voting with Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid, you’re probably on the wrong side of an issue.
The cowards who didn’t even vote were Begich (Alaska), Burr (NC), Cornyn (Tx), Moran (Ks) and Lautenberg (NJ).
Now for the Republican good guys: Ayotte (NH), Barrasso (Wy), Coburn (Ks), Cruz (Tx), Flake (Az), Hatch (Ut), Heller (Nev), Inhofe (Ok), Roberts (Ks), Johnson (Wi), Kirk (Il), Lee (Ut), McConnell and Paul (KY), Murkowski (Alaska), Rubio (Fl), Scott (SC), Toomey (Pa), Vitter (La).
Even these Democrats voted against it: Merkley and Wyden (Or), Shaheen (NH), Tester and Baucus of Montana.
One of the problems for consumers, aside from the massive headache it is for the online stores, is that how much you pay depends on where you live. That already seems discriminatory. The International Business Times says:
In many states, consumers may end up seeing a significant increase in what they’re used to paying. How much of an increase depends on the rates set by state and local governments. For example, a $1,000 television sent to New Jersey could carry a $70 tax, while a resident of Maine might pay $50 in sales tax on the same purchase.
A recent national poll from Quinnipiac University shows that 56 percent of voters said they think items and services purchased on the Internet should not be subject to state sales taxes, while just 37 percent said they should be.
Don’t these senators think it is a tricky thing to depress purchases in a time when the economy is struggling? How many people will end up being laid off when sales drop and how many small internet businesses will go under because of these regulations?
Alexander and Corker know better than to support this bill.