The misdirection starts with the name. The Marketplace Fairness Act isn’t about fairness at all. It’s about imposing the burden of calculating, collecting, reporting and remitting the consumer use taxes (sales tax) for all of the nearly 10,000 tax jurisdictions in the country onto merchants selling online regardless of whether the merchant has connections to the state and it’s taxing jurisdictions. The misdirection continues with the primary proponent of the Act, the Streamlined Sales Tax organization, putting their energy into political activism – getting as many states on board as possible – rather than on policy solutions that address the complexities and liabilities of the existing taxation landscape which are the primary obstacle to gaining the willing cooperation of online merchants.
For those who follow a generally libertarian point of view and therein traditionally lean towards a states-rights oriented political philosophy, the 2013 session of Supreme Court rulings would appear to be a victory. In its ruling on Arizona’s voting rights law and California’s Section 8 law on gay marriage the Court catalyzed the sovereignty of the states to regulate their own affairs in these two important areas. However, these decisions and the diverse and divided treatment by various states legislatures of these and other important issues including abortion, marijuana and Medicaid coverage leads one to question how decentralized governance sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. The spate of recent public governance decisions spanning social, cultural, political and economic matters of significant importance, has clearly left some […]
In 2010 when I was serving as co-chair of the Information Task Force for Sen. Pat Roberts’ Science, Technology and the Future advisory committee I saw this “Firm Formation: The Importance of Startups” report published by Kansas City’s Kauffman Foundation, a think tank dedicated to fostering economic independence by advancing entrepreneurship and education, that shows “without startups, there would be no net job growth in the U.S. economy.” So why aren’t public economic development activities putting more effort and investment into the start-up market?
A few years ago I was a panelist on a discussion featuring John Gartner, author of The Hypomanic Edge – The Link Between Craziness and Success in America. In his book Gartner makes the case for why America, a nation of immigrants, has such a high quotient of entrepreneurial success. I had become friends with a number of H1B immigrants in my first start-up and I had marveled at the courage they had exhibited in leaving the comfort and security of family and culture to come to the USA to study and work. So Gartner’s findings not only made sense but they served to explain much of what was so impressive about this special group of people.