Is there a war on Main street from the extreme left and extreme right?

I woke up this morning, and was perusing the news, and came across post from a couple of the local South Dakota blogs. Is there some undeclared war on main street businesses from the far stretches of the political spectrum lately?

First up, a post from one of Gordon Howie’s blogs, where the author claims on-line businesses shouldn’t pay sales taxes.  It would be nice if we had to paid no taxes, but barring that, such a viewpoint is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Main street businesses and small businessmen are what make a town… well, it makes it a community.  It creates local jobs, and begets growth. A small business in a community is infinite possibility for the future.  That small business often will be a member of the local chamber of commerce, promoting further growth of the community, they may support community activities, such as church activities and sports, and so on and so forth.

Match that local business up against an on-line business who can sell an item at the same price, but has no sales tax.  The local business is automatically at a disadvantage, and that money that would help pay for police, fire stations streetlights, etc., is lost to the community, at the same time profit is sent out of state at the best, over to China at the worst.

Competition is demanded by the economy, but unfair competition creates an unequal playing field in which our main streets are placed at a disadvantage. That’s why we have people like Governor Daugaard supporting main street fairness legislation.

Some might want to have a main street whose only residents are government offices and check cashing locations, but this South Dakotan believes in small business, and that the American dream is alive and well in South Dakota.  A level playing field demands that on-line businesses pay the same sales tax that South Dakota main street businesses do.

The second example of a war on main street comes from Cory Heidelberger on the extreme left with the headline: “Food Stamp Expansion Mitigates Wealth-Hoarding by ?Job Creators?

The Job Creators are doing a great job kicking more wealth up the ladder to themselves, but they?re leaving more Job Doers in poverty. The people shouting loudest about class warfare are the ones trying to keep from noticing that they are waging it quite successfully against us. And the longer they can scapegoat the people working hardest for the least reward, the longer they can hoard our wealth.

I’m still picking up my jaw off the floor on that one.  Job creators are “wealth hoarders?”  What kind of crazy socialistic society does the extreme left want us to live in?

For gosh sakes, our economic model is capitalism – the private ownership of the means of production and the creation of goods or services for profit.  Has starting a business, hiring employees, and trying to make a profit now become a cause for shame?

Business owners are the ones out there assuming the greatest risk – and by that simple virtue, they should reap the greatest reward.  If someone doesn’t like the wage they pay, they have a very simple choice: don’t work there. If an employer can’t find employees at a particular wage, they may have to pay more. But if someone is willing to do the job for that pay, this still remains a free country (at the moment).

Job creators are “wealth hoarders?”  I think not.

Backbone of our nation is more like it.

17 Replies to “Is there a war on Main street from the extreme left and extreme right?”

  1. Anonymous

    PP, I agree with you on both points. I might add that quite often one has to pay the cost of shipping for on-line purchases. However, many times those prices start out lower because the prices that the local business have to charge has the cost of freight figured in. In the long run, as you said, having to collect the sales puts the local business at a 4% to 7% disadvantage.

    Regarding Cory’s socialist scheme, wanted to mention that most new business after putting in money to purchase goods and equipment, hiring people, renting or building, paying all the fees required by government, hiring an accountant to professionally figure the amount to be paid in to workman’s comp, unemployment, Fed. Tax withholding and SS, sales taxes and the like, . . . most of those businesses shut down and lose a sizable investment before one year is over. You probably know the figure better than I, but is it 3 out of 5? and after a couple of more years it is down to just 1 remaining?

    The ones who do manage to stay open and make a profit (the dirty word to socialists) put in long and hard hours, and often for years, to make that business a success.

  2. Anonymous

    Good discussion PP.

    Where I have concerns is when the government starts a tax and begins taxing the tax never stays put at a reasonable rate.

    That is why we continue to hear Obama talk about raising the tax rate on small business owners. – He’s not satisfied with a reasonable tax.

    In South Dakota Hospitals and Schools want to raise taxes one penny. They are not satisfied with where taxes currently are.

    The debate right now is to tax or not to tax. It’s much easier to defend against a new tax then slyly increasing a tax at somepoint when citizens are distracted.

  3. Anonymous

    PP: I cannot believe it, but you are wrong, wrong, wrong! We need to starve the beast of government. South Dakota has a surplus and South Dakotans would be paying this tax. Let’s, us conservatives, quit talking of tax fairness, when the US Supreme Court has already told us what can and cannot be taxed by the states. The out of state company that has no ties to South Dakota already pays plenty of income and other taxes. Conservatives should not be mimicing democrats and attempting to destroy another thriving sector of the economy. If the local businesses don’t like it, they should start selling on the internet and quit whining.

    1. PP at the SDWC

      Anonymous, since you’re not using your name, I don’t know if you are a businessman or not. Speaking for myself, I’ve had at least one sales tax license, if not more, on and off for several years.

      You are making this discussion about taxes, and “starving out government.” But to the businessman, that’s not what the argument is about. The argument is about an artificially tilted playing field, where some have to collect taxes, increasing the final price of the product they offer and some do not.

      Anonymous, how many out-of-state companies advertise in your church bulletin, or sponsor local softball clubs? How many Internet-based companies who don’t pay sales taxes allow the local girl scout troop to sell cookies in their doorway?

      I’ll answer that for you – NONE.

      If we allow the playing field to be uneven, we will be contributing to the depopulation of South Dakota communities who need those jobs. Because once the jobs leave, then the families leave. And then the schools leave.

      And once the schools are gone, you’re left with a community marking time until they finally dry up and die.

      Making internet vendors pay the same state sales tax that the rest of us (myself included) have to pay is a pretty minor step to make sure that the playing field is level, and that our Main Streets have a fighting chance to compete.

      1. Anonymous

        You are advocating South Dakotans paying more taxes for a government that has a surplus. The violins are playing about fairness, but until the taxers and spenders advocating for the “stream-line” sales taxes make their proposal revenue neutral by reducing the sales taxes on other businesses, it is nothing more than a tax increase on South Dakotans.

        Please, do not join the chorus of democrats crying a river to increase taxes because at its base that is all this is about–more revenue and more government. Let’s let innovation continue to thrive unteathered by the destructive hands of government intervention.

        P.S. You certainly know who I am, but thanks for not “outing” me.

        1. Les

          You appear to be very closed minded on the online tax issue. It is also the law.

          Most online vendors drop ship from the factory so they have no inventory costs. They then buy in a volume beyond your local store who sells a locally stocked item purchased and held until you decide to purchase. In my business to cover rural needs my inventory turn was 1.5 times per year, a very low turn. Finally I was at a 6% tax disadvantage which was over $30,000 in dollar terms that I not only had to collect but organize and submit to our state government.

          You apparently have no clue or concern as to what it takes to run or stay in business and will eventually get just what you deserve.

          1. Anonymous

            I’ve already got it the way I want it and intend to keep it that way–with the help of fiscal conservatives.

            1. Anonymous

              In other words Anon, you want some people (those who shop local) to pay the taxes for our fire and police departments, education, helping the elderly and needy, etc., while those who buy most things over the internet don’t have to pay the sales tax, and therefore are not paying their fair share.

              1. Anonymous

                You make a good point. I think the term for those people are “freeloaders”. Since most old people don’t shop online the burden is more heavey on them.

                1. Anonymous

                  My tax and spend friends, quit trying to make this more than it is–more revenue and more government. You are buying into the democrat class warfare of “they aren’t taxed enough”. If this is really about tax fairness, mandate reduction of local taxation at the same time you are trying to unconstitutionally tax innovation. Otherwise, you are advocating for nothing more than a tax increase on South Dakotans!

                  Quit buying into the democrats emotional fairness pleas to increase taxes on the other guy. Also, take a look at the group photograph: how many conservatives (not republicans) vs. (liberals) do you actually see in the group photo?

                  1. Les

                    I take it you cheat on your income taxes as well. You’re probably an occupier that thinks he/she is a conservative.

  4. anon

    PP – What do you think about the idea of fairness when it comes to farming? We are in the heart of the farm bill discussion in SD and I do not agree with the proposed legislation.

    Is it fair for small businesses to not be given a safety net incase they fail? Like subsidized crop insurance shouldn’t we also give businesses a federally subsidized insurance they can buy at 1/3 the actual cost and set the insurance payout at their investments peak net worth? And then when the business goes under they can sell it and collect 65% on the price they set with the insurance company.

    The point I’m making is nothing is ever fair when the government is involved. They pick winners and losers. Sometimes individuals sometimes industries.

    I agree with you about internet taxes. If we buy from Amazon (located in Seatle, Washington) we should pay Washington sales taxes. We cannot expect a business to handle 50 verying sales tax revenue from each state.

    I am not in favor of the federal government doing this. Let the states decide if they want to charge internet sales tax.

    1. duggersd

      “We cannot expect a business to handle 50 verying sales tax revenue from each state.” Actually, there is every reason in the world to expect an online company to collect sales taxes for 50 different states. Back in the mid 90’s, I worked for a company that sold satellite programming all over the country. Certain states required us to collect sales tax and send it in. A computer program was installed so whenever there was sales tax, we were able to have that in the total we quoted. The companies have the ability to do it. And they can even collect for city sales taxes such as those in Sioux Falls.
      Requiring online companies or mail order companies and the such to collect sales tax is not a new tax. It is the collection of an existing tax.

  5. BW Schwartz

    Ok, you all do realize that even though many online retailers don’t collect sales tax that you the consumer are still legally required to pay it right?

    http://www.ilsr.org/rule/internet-sales-tax-fairness/3119-2/

    The argument that most seem to be missing is not whether the tax should be imposed, because legally it must be, but how it should be collected. Either online retailers are forced to collect it whereby states can more easily ensure it gets paid or as it stands now, consumers must self report and as such states have little to no way to ensure that what is legally owed is in fact getting paid.

    1. duggersd

      While you have a point, the fact remains that the consumer often does not know he/she wants something until it is made available. The business that offers that service or product is taking a risk there is a consumer who will buy it. If enough consumers will buy it, then perhaps the business will expand. But nothing happens until somebody offers the good or service to the consumer.

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