“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”. Thomas Jefferson.
It is foolhardy to believe that we will ever all feel good about our taxes. It is not something that anyone will ever become completely comfortable with, but there must be some basis for understanding when too much is too much and when one thing or another no longer warrants perpetuation ad infinitum.
In the words of George Washington, “No taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.” No, we are never going to be comfortable or pleasant when it comes to how, when, on what we are taxed. But, can’t we all at least agree that there are some areas where taxes should leave us be…
I am one of those people who really, really do not enjoy “Shopping.” Yes, there are those among us, my beloved wife being one, who are remarkable enthusiasts for this retailing game of thrones. She loves – loves – shopping. To her it is as much a form of entertainment as a night at the opera, a great new movie or even… “The Theatre.” Yes, she would far rather take in a sale at Kohl’s than an evening of live jazz or an art exhibit. For her, and those like her, there are times, such as Black Friday, when it more resembles a contact sport. Yes, this is the time when those that have taken it to the level of Jedi Master slip quietly into the dark of night to ply their craft out there in the vastness of bricks and mortar retailing where they, like the Titans of Greek Mythology, do tectonic battle with all the other masters of this dark-art for the finite numbers of featured sale items that have been placed for the express purposes of drawing them out and into this great annual conflagration. Alas, however, I am no devotee.
To counter, or at least bring moderation to the heightened level of agoraphobia I have developed around predatory shopping, in recent years, I have turned, in no small measure, to the internet for my meager needs. I have a special bookmark folder with most of the regular suspects where one may go, search by category for some specific item, compare prices, and then place one’s order for exactly what it was that they intended to buy, whether needed or not. Then, promoting an almost rapturous state of elation, it arrives safely and soundly on the stoop of my home some days later where I may bask or even wallow in the deluge of endorphins manufactured by the opportunity to unbox or unwrap my newest acquisition which was chosen down to its most finite detail of size, color, weight, shape, everything before it was ever aware that soon it would be mine. It is a performance in efficiency and accuracy that takes me to great heights of satisfaction…and not one step did I make into that dreaded landscape commonly referred to as “The Mall.” Aahhh; I shudder to think…
So, this morning I arrive at my office and long onto my computer; open my email only to find a note from the good folks at eBay imploring me to beseech my Congress person that they might disavow and renounce a renewed movement to tax my online purchases. In fact, according to the eBay solicitation, “Congress is considering online sales tax legislation that is wrongheaded and unfair.” Well, yeah! I mean all those other taxes, especially those other sales taxes have all been so well considered and are so timely, immensely well targeted, ultimately convenient and nothing less than a blessing. But this one… it is obviously going to be nothing less than a scourge on the land of biblical proportion.
I guess I am of two minds here… One; NO – I do not want my little “Wells Fargo Wagon” moments in any way besmirched by having to watch that amazing bargain I just found online sullied by the no longer quite so unseen hands of the Novus ordo seclorum. I mean, here they are reaching right into my home and into my wallet to fund their global domination… How rude!
And then there is my other mind… The one that says, “Oh yeah, they’ve figured it out. Well it was great while it lasted, but of course they are not about to let any small portion of my joy go untaxed. Oh well…” So big bad Uncle SAM is coming for our online purchases. Well, in the immortal words of Claude Rains from his now inestimable role as Captain Renault: “I’m shocked, shocked!” Nature may abhor a vacuum, but it is nothing compared to how much government really hates the un-taxed. It was all just a matter of time.