Legislation is currently making its way through the U.S. Congress that would require online retailers to charge sales tax on domestic sales.
People who do not live in the U.S. will find this idea very confusing, so let me briefly explain it: In most of the world, consumption is taxed at a standard national rate, and that tax is built into the price of something. So if you see a book price at 10 Euros, when you take the book up to the cashier and pay for it, you will learn that the book actually costs 10 Euros.
This is not the case in the United States, where consumption taxes (here known as sales taxes) are 1. not built in to the advertised price, and 2. are set and collected by individual states and sometimes even cities. So if you see a book priced at $10, in Chicago that book will actually cost $10.92, whereas if you buy exactly the same book in South Dakota, it will (probably) cost you $10.40, although some South Dakotan municipalities have higher sales tax.
It’s complicated, as you can see from this hilariously convoluted wikipedia article. Now of course what we should do is get rid of all these taxes and replace them with a single national consumption tax like every other country in the world, but we will never do this because states’ rights.
If online retailers have to charge sales tax on every item they sell in the U.S., it will create a massive headache: Software will need to be built that calculates sales tax based on the shipping address and then charges that sales tax and then remits it quarterly to the gazillion different municipalities that charge sales tax. This is not such a big problem for a huge company like Amazon, but it is a VERY BIG PROBLEM INDEED for a small company like DFTBA Records.
So this bill is bad news for me, and really for everyone who works for or often shops with DFTBA Records, because it will increase overhead and prices and decrease royalties.
But I think the bill is still good news for the world, because brick-and-mortar retailers, who really are important to a community’s success, are at a competitive disadvantage right now, because goods sold through the Internet are (on average) 5-10% cheaper due to being exempt from consumption taxes. That’s a huge competitive advantage for online retailers, and it also means they don’t contribute to the well-being of the communities where they do business: They don’t pay for the roads that their goods are shipped on, or the schools where their employees and customers are educated.
That’s not right. This bill will be a big blow to DFTBA Records and other independent online retailers, and some won’t be able to continue doing business. But most will (we’ll figure something out), and we can’t continue to exempt online sales from consumption tax in the U.S. We need a single national sales tax rate. But that ain’t gonna happen, and this is probably the best option remaining.
Sometimes bad news for you is good news for the social order. In those cases, it can be hard to be rational. (I know my first impulse in re. this bill was to be like, “WE MUST DEFEAT THIS THING THAT WILL HARM MY COMPANY.”) But ultimately I don’t think that kind of selfishness makes for better governance.
This bill is bad for me. And I’m in favor of it.
At a gathering of school board members and public school administrators in Madison, Wisconsin, Republican Wisconsin State Assemblyman Dan LeMathieu said that special needs children are “a burden on our schools.”
This comes as members of the Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Legislature are set to vote on a state budget, which was proposed by Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, that includes a proposed special needs school voucher program.
Dan LeMathieu admitted the real reason why he and his fellow Republicans in Wisconsin want to implement a special needs school voucher program: because they believe that allowing special needs children to attend public schools is “a burden” on public schools, and, therefore, they want to make it difficult, if not impossible, for public schools to be able to accommodate special needs children, forcing many parents of special needs children to send their children to private schools, where there is no guarantee that their educational needs will be properly accommodated.
As someone who was a special needs student in a small-town public school district in Central Illinois, I know that special needs students are NOT a “burden” on public schools. My teachers knew how to deal with me and treated me with respect, and they didn’t consider it a “burden” to teach me.
I find it to be absolutely appalling that an elected official would make offensive, disparaging remarks about special needs children.
I was once a special needs student in school, and it ticks me off!
To say that a special needs student is a “burden” is flat out insulting to the nth degree!
h/t: The Apollo Report
*headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*
I don’t think that “mainstreaming” every single special needs student (like some districts try to) is beneficial to anyone, but ffs…THIS isn’t the answer.
I love Wisconsin. My heart resides in Madison as much as it does in Dublin. But I can’t move back there. It’s a shitpit now.
Please stop thinking in dichotomies.
Criticism of A does not imply endorsement of B. Criticizing Obama does not imply endorsement of Romney. Despising the Taliban does not imply support of the occupation. You can hate all equally.
The options presented to you aren’t the only options you have. Continue taking things for what they are; if something’s wrong, it is wrong, no matter how it stands “compared” to some other option. Don’t settle for anything short of justice.
Even the state department has a sense of humor.
Gov. Chris Christie just RIPPED House Republicans for blocking Hurricane Sandy relief.
And he goes on like this for pretty much the full press conference. Watch it here.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Prime Minister of Australia kicking ass and taking names (mostly Tony Abbott’s.)
Easily one of my favorite moments of 2012.
Note that Tony Abbott is a long-standing anti-female politico in Australia. Their current PM has worked to destroy gender barriers for both females and males (especially when speaking out against the transphobic crimes that took place in Darwin and Alice Springs).
She could be stronger on racial issues, but right now, the big problems in Australia are fiscal and religious, and on those terms, she’s wonderful. This just makes her better.
Across the country, tens of thousands of underemployed and jobless young people, many with college credits or work histories, are struggling to house themselves in the wake of the recession, which has left workers between the ages of 18 and 24 with the highest unemployment rate of all adults. Those who can move back home with their parents — the so-called boomerang set — are the lucky ones.
But that is not an option for those whose families have been hit hard by the economy, including Mr. Taylor, whose mother is barely scraping by while working in a laundromat. Without a stable home address, they are an elusive group that mostly couch surfs or sleeps hidden away in cars or other private places, hoping to avoid the lasting stigma of public homelessness during what they hope will be a temporary predicament. These young adults are the new face of a national homeless population, one that poverty experts and case workers say is growing. Yet the problem is mostly invisible. Most cities and states, focusing on homeless families, have not made special efforts to identify young adults, who tend to shy away from ordinary shelters out of fear of being victimized by an older, chronically homeless population.
The unemployment rate and the number of young adults who cannot afford college “point to the fact there is a dramatic increase in homelessness” in that age group, said Barbara Poppe, the executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness."More Young Americans Are Homeless - NYTimes.com (via jenn2d2)