Is There A Fair Way to Do Internet Sales Tax?

The “Marketplace Fairness Act” is clearing hurdles in the Senate, and there’s a good chance it might pass next week. The bill finally brings sales tax to the Internet.

Thanks to a Supreme Court case involving mail-order catalogs in 1992, businesses do not have to charge sales tax to customers who live in other states. There are two “unfairnesses” of this status quo that supporters of the Marketplace Fairness Act hope to correct.

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Freedom and The Boston Bomber Manhunt

My favorite part about last week’s Boston Bomber Manhunt was how they found him almost immediately after ending the semi-voluntary “shelter in place” lockdown. It did not surprise me at all that top-down, brute-force SWAT teams going door-to-door were no match for bottom-up organic movement by hundreds of thousands of citizens once they were no longer encouraged to stay indoors. All it took was one guy going outside and seeing blood on his boat.

This is an interesting outcome in light of the security/liberty continuum. Internet libertarians are fond of quoting “Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither” (or some variation, attributed to both Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, it seems). I always thought that was a little absolutist, because unless you’re advocating for complete anarchy, you’re basically ok with sacrificing some liberty for some security; the question is merely how far you’d like to go.

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On Background Checks and Emotional Appeals

Wednesday, the Senate rejected several attempts at gun control, including expanded background checks, which received a majority 54 votes but not the 60 it needed to advance. The outrage from gun control advocates was swift. “This was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” said President Obama. “Shame on them,” said Gabrielle Giffords. Even the generally calm left-leaning economist Justin Wolfers got a little worked up: “How many kids have to be slain before Congress finally tries to prevent monsters from getting their hands on guns?(Apparently more than 20)”

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The Totally Obvious, Completely Indefensible Media Bias In The Gosnell Murder Trial

Conservatives are outraged at the lack of media coverage of Kermit Gosnell, the “doctor” who performed illegal, unsanitary, dangerous late-term abortions in Pennsylvania, using scissors to snip the necks of babies delivered alive – and that’s just the tip of the horrors to be found there. Most of you, like myself, probably only found about it this week, thanks mostly to Thursday’s scathing USAToday editorial by Kirsten Powers.

Of course, there are crazy conspiracists who talk of a deliberate “media blackout” to prevent discussing a story that makes abortion look bad. I tend to agree with Dave Weigel’s more natural explanation: “members of the MSM [mainstream media] are generally socially liberal, and less likely to notice/devote attention to a story about a rogue abortionist.” Pro-lifers like me tend to ignore stories of abortion clinic bombers; pro-choicers tend to ignore stories about abortionists killing patients with disease-ridden instruments.

But even that’s not good enough for the guardians of the mainstream media, who are shocked – shocked – to hear serious accusations that it might even be possible for there to be any sort of bias in their glorious reporting. After all, conservatives are always complaining about Liberal Media Bias, which often just means the non-Fox-News media isn’t reporting things exactly the way they want. Yet sometimes the bias is so totally obvious, so completely indefensible that the media’s desperate attempts to cover themselves just makes it all look even worse.

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On Minimum Wages And Average Productivity

Elizabeth Warren has some quotes about minimum wages that are making the rounds these days. Here’s one:


There’s another variant that claims if minimum wage had risen at the same pace as productivity for such and such arbitrary length of time, it would now stand st $22/hour. On the surface, these statements seem like a reasonable argument for raising the minimum wage, until you realize the clever sleight-of-hand being applied here.

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