Thursday, June 21, 2018

BREAKING Horrific Supreme Court Ruling: States Can Require Internet Tax Collection

This is a developing story. Return to this post for updates.


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states and local governments can collect sales taxes from internet retailers that don’t currently charge tax to their customers.


 The court's 5-4 vote overturned a 1992 ruling that had made much of the internet a tax-free zone.


The bastard Trump Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch voted with the majority.


  1. So did that bastard Reagan Supreme Court appointee, Anthony Kennedy.
    So did that bastard George H.W. Bush Supreme Court appointee, Clarance Thomas.
    So did that bastard George W. Bush Supreme Court appointee, Samuel Alito.
    So did that bastard Clinton Supreme Court appointee, Ruth Ginsburg.

    1. Re Kennedy (the most powerful man in the US, because he is normally the swing vote), you've got to love this quotation from his judgment: "The expansion of e-commerce has also increased the revenue shortfall faced by States seeking to collect their sales and use taxes." As if the key point is ensuring states don't see a decline in "revenue."

      Reaganites claim he was a low-tax president, but he wasn't, and it seems neither is his appointee.

  2. What a surprise. US State and local government gross public debt is only $3.1 trillion. Of course California has the most debt with $426 billion. Wyoming is lagging way behind with a mere $1.7 billion which is also the lowest per capita at $2,894. Cali is 13th per capita at $10,712. The per capita leader is DC our nation’s capital clocking in at $23,007 per head. Nice.

  3. Michael Faraday's purported reply to William Gladstone, then British Chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of finance), when asked of the practical value of electricity:

    "Why, sir, there is every probability that you will soon be able to tax it."

    How little we learn through the years...


  4. So will Walter Block now stop citing the Gorsuch appointment as a plus for Trump?

    1. As horrid as any tax is, I guess you could characterize this as a victory for "states' rights"? Setting aside my Rothbardian hat, from a constitutional perspective, why should the Supreme Court be entitled to tell a state government what it can and cannot tax? I haven't read the opinion, only news stories, but could that have been Gorsuch's angle? Or did he sell out the GOP like John Roberts did with Obamacare?

    2. @TheNAPster

      I haven’t read the opinion either, but it’s a interesting question. Since, as libertarians, we don’t believe that a Supreme Court should exist at all, does it therefore follow that it’s always better for it to render passive and deferential opinions? Or is that the wrong view in cases where it’s decisions could be interpreted as sanctioning aggression? Roe v Wade is a similar case.

      I honestly don’t know what the right answer is.

    3. Evan:

      Putting my Rothbardian hat back on, I would say that in theory we should just support whichever state-agency decision reduces aggression; with the Supreme Court, this means we could support both active and deferential jurisprudence in different situations (just like legislation can repeal prior, aggressive regulations or introduce new ones).

      But in practice that's harder to apply than it seems. For instance, you could see this judgment as increasing aggression, since it opens the way for states to tax a greater number of peaceful trades. On the other hand, if this judgment suggests a court which is going to be more deferential to state legislatures, since we (I) see decentralization of power as a positive move in the direction of liberty (even though RW disagrees), this could be a favorable judgment for liberty (it's just so hard to predict though whether this is a one-off decision on specific facts, or a broader signal).

      It's important to keep in mind that it is actually the relevant states which are aggressing here, in levying the tax, and not the Supreme Court, which is simply saying "Do whatever you want." Thus, in this instance, I would still lay fault at the feet of the state legislatures, not the Supreme Court.

  5. The decision possibly extends the authority of states to non-residents, since a state can now force an out-of-state online business to act as its revenue agent, to collect taxes on sales to in-state buyers.