Friday, March 17, 2017
  Tacit agreement fading

In the 1930 depression, big business quickly felt public pressure to behave responsibly, and generally complied. The profit motive requires a business to treat employees and public with some degree of fairness.

In the 2008 depression, big business has no reason to respond to public pressure. Profit has been replaced by share value, which means "customers" are no longer customers. Goldman is the customer, and Goldman wants perfect 100% mathematics. No money can be wasted on products or humans.

I wonder if the Goldman paradigm is starting to loosen up. Amazon, which grew without paying any taxes, is finally starting to collect sales tax for point of purchase. At the start of 2017 they were collecting in 39 states, and they're quickly adding the rest. The states added this year are mainly 'red states'. Amazon felt no need to support Uncools until this year.

Needless to say, Repooflican eunuchs are complaining about supporting states. They want ALL money to flow into the Goldman black hole.

Sales tax has always been nominally required on all purchases regardless of state boundaries. The feds have never bothered to enforce this, which made some sense before Amazon and before computers. Cross-border taxes impose a heavy overhead on a small or medium business. You need to have an account in each state where you might sell stuff, you have to keep up with the forms and rates in each state and city, and you have to submit quarterly or monthly reports to each of those states. For a bookstore or hobby shop that occasionally received a mail order, the overhead was WAY out of proportion to the profit.

Back in the 70s when I was bookkeeper for a construction company, we did business in 5 states at various times. Keeping up with cross-border taxes occupied me for two or three days per month. If we had tried to be ready for business in all 50 states, the work would have required two bookkeepers.

In the digital era this overhead fades to near zero, so there's no reason for the tacit arrangement now.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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