‘Marketplace Fairness’ fools the Senate, but there are Skeptics in the House

The Marketplace Fairness Act is a like a bad impressionist painting – it’s appealing at first glance, but the longer you stare the worse it looks. The Senate got around that problem today by making sure nobody had a chance to look too closely at this legislation.  Thankfully for businesses and consumers, the House of Representatives won’t be so accommodating.

Today’s vote to limit debate on the ironically named Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) effectively ends any chance that the Senate will fix the measure’s many crippling flaws before they pass it over to the House.

Cash-strapped state executives and big-box-store lobbyists finally got what they have been working for, a measure that adds tax burdens on small and midsized businesses around the country, without forcing states to go through with the vexing task of actually simplifying their Byzantine tax codes. The MFA contains none of the simplifications identified by the True Simplification of Taxation coalition and is actually worse for consumers than the bad bill that failed to move last year. Read more

Rollerblading in a Marathon

Some things are tough work.  Like becoming an astronaut, finding the Higgs boson, or running a marathon.  It’s also tough work to design an entirely new tax regime for the Internet.

Tackling tough jobs requires discipline, training and patience. Shortcuts may feel good, but they often lead to failure, embarrassment or can even get you hurt.  Last week’s Senate vote on a non-binding resolution supporting a new Internet sales tax is a shortcut something akin to …rollerblading in a marathon.  A finish line was ultimately crossed, but some folks looked pretty silly doing it and the victory cheer rings hollow.

Fortunately, last week’s debate included wisdom from Senators who understand that short-circuiting debate on such an important issue is bad policy.  Senator Max Baucus reminded his colleagues that they were voting on a “revolutionary” proposal that raised more questions than it answered. Read more