I was surprised to read Colin Hanna, a “conservative” leader, opining in favor of the Marketplace “Fairness” Act in his column “Congress should pass e-fairness legislation”. This bill is the antithesis of small government, as it would set tax collectors from almost 10,000 taxing jurisdictions free to roam the Internet in a quest for revenue, threatening thousands of small e-retailers in Pennsylvania and across the country with audits and even bankruptcy.
Instead, I would refer self-styled conservatives to Erick Erickson, a prominent conservative radio host, activist and blogger who wrote recently about “coin operated conservatism” on RedState.com. I may not always agree with Erickson, but I couldn't have agreed more when, writing about the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), he decried “corporate dollars ... being spread around directly and indirectly to claim this ... is somehow conservative.” Where are these corporate dollars coming from? From mega-retailers — the likes of Wal-Mart and Amazon — that are seeking to use their friends in Congress to crush their small, online competitors through the MFA.
It seems odd that Hanna, who heads a “taxpayer advocacy organization,” is supporting a bill that is the embodiment of crony capitalism. Indeed, most top taxpayer groups and conservative thinks tanks are opposed to it. Those groups, and anyone interested in a vibrant 21st-century economy, are looking for solutions that will provide a level playing field for all businesses whether online or on a street corner, rather than embracing a big-government solution that merely serves the mega-retailers.
The writer is executive director of the WE R HERE (Web Enabled Retailers Helping Expand Retail Employment) Coalition (werherecoalition.org).
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