Trump Threatens Amazon With "Internet Tax"

President Donald Trump just sent a chill down the spine of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his fellow techno-plutocrats by reiterating his support for an Internet tax.

"The internet - they're going to have to start paying sales tax because it's very unfair what's happening to our retailers all over the country that are put out of business," Trump said Wednesday.

In a veiled shot at Washington Post-owner Bezos, Trump repeated skepticism that he first expressed in a tweet late last year about Amazon's impact on the US Postal Service as it struggles to keep up with all the online orders while sinking into financial insolvency.

According to one technology analyst who spoke with CNBC, the prospect of an an internet tax has long been an object of tech industry lobbying efforts.

"There's always been a fear for players like an Amazon or a Google that something like this could actually get through," Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights, told CNBC. "We believe it's more noise than a real threat."

As we've pointed out in the past, several tech companies and industry lobbying groups rank among the biggest spenders in Washington.

 

Lobbying

Amazon collects sales tax on products it sells directly to consumers, but is more lax when it comes to sales made on its platform by third party merchants.

Indeed, the trend has already started at the state level.

In June, South Carolina filed a complaint against the online retailer, and Amazon agreed in November to take on additional third-party tax burden in its home state of Washington.

President Trump slams Amazon, telling U.S. post office to charge more from CNBC.

 

To be sure, America's "retail apocalypse" is expected to accelerate this year. With that in mind, Trump might be pushing to preserve American companies and jobs. However, Amazon isn't the only reason for the flood of retail company bankruptcies: Massive excess capacity, perpetually over-levered capital structures and a constant lack of capital investment have undoubtedly helped accelerate the decline.

Trump made his remarks during the signing of the Interdict Act, which seeks to reduce drug smuggling through the purchase of opioid sensors.

Comments

IH8OBAMA Fiat Burner Jan 11, 2018 12:21 PM Permalink

I agree with Trump.  I already pay state sales tax on Amazon purchases here in Texas.  But many states don't have the agreement that Texas made with Amazon.

The solution is a flat Internet tax in place of state sales taxes.  As long as that tax revenue is distributed to the states on an equitable formula.

 

In reply to by Fiat Burner

Never One Roach Currency Pinto Jan 11, 2018 1:29 PM Permalink

Alot of internet e-commerce stores are now "Mom & Pop" stores. So he would be bashing them to save failed management at the Huge Sears, jcp, Macy's, etc. If they have piss-poor management, then failure is a logical outcome.

Look how Soweeto Mohammed bin Bama tried to force his brand of Soweetocare onto people!

I see no reason to manipulate free markets with more voodoo regulation and/or taxes.

Keep our peeples free!

In reply to by Currency Pinto

Buckaroo Banzai Currency Pinto Jan 11, 2018 1:34 PM Permalink

Sales taxes are excise taxes, which are in all ways superior to property taxes or income taxes, both of which--by definition-- infringe on the cornerstone individual rights of property and liberty.

Only anarchist spergs advocate for zero taxes. But if you are willing to allow for the existence of the state, and the ability of the state to tax its citizens to support itself, then you necessarily have to advocate for excise taxes (like sales taxes) as the only just form of taxation.

All that said, I'd support an "internet tax" for the single reason that it would fuck over amazon, and put local businesses on the same tax footing as that piece of shit Bezos.

In reply to by Currency Pinto

Consuelo Buckaroo Banzai Jan 11, 2018 2:07 PM Permalink

+1

 

Taxes on Consumption encourage (most) people to look more carefully at their expenditures.

Thus, when consumption falls, savings rates rise - which is precisely the recipe for long-term sound economic growth - the slow & steady kind like we used to have before Savings & Production were supplanted with Debt & Consumption via easy credit.

In addition, the higher savings rate and consequent lower revenue from consumption taxes, force State legislators to reign in unwise spending.   Like say for example, a $2200 fully subsidized State .gov rent check for a townhome rental here in relatively decent part of San Jose, CA for a single woman and her 3 kids...

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

ed31337 Buckaroo Banzai Jan 11, 2018 2:29 PM Permalink

It won't fuck over Amazon at all... Amazon already charges most people sales tax based on the state the packages are being shipped to. All it would do is force mom & pop stores over on eBay to start charging sales tax or go out of business due to the extreme red tape involved with trying to meet every state's sales tax requirements and filings.

Come to think of it, that's probably exactly what Amazon would LOVE to see. 

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

vega74 Boris Alatovkrap Jan 11, 2018 1:48 PM Permalink

​Where would the revenues from an Internet tax go?  Towards new infrastructure capital and repairs, ​national 'defense', education, health care?

In my fantasy world, Google and Amazon would grab their balls and man up/stand up.  Tax us and we're done: full bore John Galt.  Fold the companies.  Liquidate cash reserves pay them back as a one time/final dividend to shareholders.

Walk the talk one last time as a 'disrupter'.  Hit the re-set button.  Create the world of pain which is the inevitable conclusion to the trajectory we're all on.

Right on Boris... don't tread on me.  Don't steal from me.

In reply to by Boris Alatovkrap

MEFOBILLS Boris Alatovkrap Jan 11, 2018 3:01 PM Permalink

Taxes are not always theft, it depends on the tax.  America got rich behind tariffs, a form of tax.  This kept predatory "English" business at bay, and allowed America to develop its industry, and create jobs for American's, not English.

If monopoly forms, then that is stealing in the form of high prices.  The proper thing to do is to "tax" the gains away from monopoly and return it to the people it was stolen from.  Also, if monopoly forms, a way to suppress it, is to lower tariffs on foreign competitors, which then lowers prices with competition.

The bottom line is LOWEST POSSIBLE PRICE, to then allow economic freedom.  Ironically, properly placed taxes lower overall prices.  If you are for economic freedom, then you cannot blithely mouth the words, all taxes are bad.  

So, it depends is the answer.  Sometimes taxes are misplaced, and in that case they are a theft. Misplaced taxes are theft.  Proper taxes return thefts, and are a corrective.

 By not having a proper money system, and proper tax system (to tax away rents/unearned income) parasites will do things like run property bubbles against civilizations, or have windfall gains due to some sort of scheme they cooked up.

Unearned income and rents are thefts.

The original income tax was sold as a corrective to go after unearned rents.  Of course, monopolists and schemers have found ways around this tax.  For example, oil companies take their profits on flag of convenience countries like Panama, then jack up the price of crude before it hits the refinery.  That way they pay very little tax, and you get screwed.

 

 

 

In reply to by Boris Alatovkrap

IH8OBAMA syzygysus Jan 11, 2018 12:28 PM Permalink

Of course, that wouldn't work.  It would need to be as I outlined in my statement - In place of state sales taxes and to be returned to the states.  The Feds or a central processor would just facilitate the payment of the tax to the states.

Brick and mortar businesses are being crushed because their customers have to pay sales tax but Internet purchasers in most cases don't.  The playing field needs to be made fair between retailers regardless of what you think of sales taxes.

UPDATE: Hey, I do almost all of my purchasing online.  And I, like you, enjoy not having to pay sales tax on a lot of what I buy.  I even get 5% back on every Amazon purchase I make.

But, it is killing the local merchants because it's not a fair playing field.  The playing field needs to be made fair for all businesses.

In reply to by syzygysus

richsob IH8OBAMA Jan 11, 2018 1:09 PM Permalink

The way I view it is if you want the convenience of an immediate purchase or want to put your hands on something, try it on, double check the color, etc. of an item then you should be willing to pay a sales tax for that experience if you buy something at your local brick and mortar business.  But if you don't need any of those things and you want to buy online, then you shouldn't have to pay for the convenience.  The key is the damn local brick and mortar businesses need to stop complaining and up their game by hiring personnel that are actually HELPFUL when you try to buy something.  A lot of them aren't helpful at all so people have learned to instinctively to just buy an item online, take their chances, and try to avoid the hassle.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

Jay IH8OBAMA Jan 11, 2018 2:10 PM Permalink

Yes, retail and online vendors need the same rules. Like, I should be able to buy a car or motorcycle online, if I want, from the same place the retail outlet orders from. I should be able to order my car directly from the distributor or factory without going through some bullshit stealership whose services I don't need or want. But I can't do that. I can't do that because the crony stealerships have it written into state law that nobody can buy that way.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

ed31337 IH8OBAMA Jan 11, 2018 2:42 PM Permalink

Bullshit. Online businesses have to pay shipping fees, so the difference is a wash.

Also, last time I looked, Amazon profit margins were practically zero, so both online and B&M are being crushed at the same time. The entire retail sector is overbuilt, that's why stores are closing, not because of some imaginary sales tax advantage. You impose more sales tax and it's just going to retard retail even more.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

J Mahoney IH8OBAMA Jan 11, 2018 1:08 PM Permalink

DISAGREE TOTALLY---The USA is loosing on the postal rates charged China based sellers--they pay less than we do to send a small package across town---Makes the administration appear to be owned by China. Chinese goods imported into the USA in containers by larger retailers is higher quality, inspected, and likely charges tax when resold in the USA--all the shit coming in direct from Asia in the USPS E Packets is NOT inspected, No Tax or tariffs paid, NO income tax, NO sales tax, No real estate tax, NO jobs here (Except USPS loosing their ass delivering them even on Sunday)

In reply to by IH8OBAMA