Blockbusters closed because their business model was out of date. They seized a window of opportunity to rent physical objects that was displaced by a
more efficient model where you no longer had to worry about "overdues." This, in turn, is about to be completely replaced by online streaming. It
really had nothing to do with Amazon and everything to do with technology forcing change.
Blockbusters is probably a bad example to illustrate your broader point, which is online shopping in general. You'd like to couch it in terms of
"fairness," but as any parent knows, claiming something is "unfair" only means you disagree. One of the issues is taxes. We could go a number of
different ways here depending on exactly what taxes you want to discuss, but the point is that taxes are complex. I'll give you one example involving
In my small county there are about fifty different locations where the sales tax varies, sometimes by only a tenth of a percent. Taxing districts
overlay each other in strange ways resulting in this complication. Amazon is expected to collect the appropriate amount of taxes based on address. Now
multiply this by 39 counties, then by 50 states, most of which have more than 39 counties, and you see the task is nothing short of herculean.
Amazon does not collect sales taxes in most states and the states are unhappy about this because they feel they are "losing" tax revenue that is
"rightfully" theirs so it is "unfair" that they can't easily collect it. Remember, though, that taxes are a form of extortion by government, which
forces you to pay them under circumstances they dictate. It's YOUR money they are taking and they certainly don't play fair either.
For example, an area in my county called "Silverdale" wants to incorporate. Proponents of the plan say they want to get out from beneath the County
and "manage their own destiny." It's touted as a "local control" issue. That means they want to add another layer of government so that they can have
their own police force, their own mayor, their own City hall, etc. It's up for a vote this year.
The proponents of Silverdale incorporation feel they can do this because they just happen to be the center of retail shopping in the county. There is
a big enclosed mall there and hundreds of peripheral stores which have been built around it. Everyone in the County--and a couple of other counties,
too, goes to shop there. Right now all the sales tax money from purchases goes to the county for "redistribution," so everyone in the county benefits
from the county "services" that are provided with that tax money--including residents of unincorporated "Silverdale."
But Silverdale figures if they can incorporate, they will get that sales tax money now going to the county, so this will result in county residents
giving money to now incorporated Silverdale at the expense of the County, which will grow poorer as a result and be less able to provide the same
services to its residents who are shopping at the mall. Silverdale itself will be relatively "rich" because it is collecting a huge amount of sales
taxes relative to its size.
To me as a County resident this is completely unfair! Silverdale is stealing my tax money, so for me an online model where Amazon taxes me by address
would restore fairness and balance to the system. The taxing authority here doesn’t care about fairness. They’ll scream it just like they say
every tax increase is “for the children,” but this is an emotional appeal. It’s not about fairness as much as it is about maximizing the tax
they can collect.
The real issue here is that our taxing model was built on a world that no longer exists. The questions we should be asking are, “Why are you taxing
us as much as you are and what are we getting back from that in terms of services?” When you complain that Amazon is “unfair” because it
doesn’t collect taxes from X, you’re on the side of government helping them maximize their tax take. What if the question were why government is
so large that it needs all these taxes and what, exactly, are they doing with that money? Voting themselves generous salaries and pensions? Taking
money from you who have earned it and simply giving it to people who have not?
This idea that corporations must pay “their fair share” is a false argument because corporations pay nothing. You do. When you raise taxes on
corporations, the price of their products goes up. They simply pass the cost of taxes through to you. A tax increase foisted onto a corporation may
make you feel good, but you are the one ultimately paying those taxes.
It’s all a shell game, and you are the victim.
edit on 1/16/2013 by schuyler because: (no reason given)