Mother of Mercy, could this be the end of the Thrilling Detective Web Site?
I've been fired. By Amazon.
The recent law passed by the California government that dares to suggest that Amazon collect sales tax on purchases made online by residents of California (just like the store around the corner) has provoked Amazon into firing all its affiliates in California. Not right away, mind you, but soon. September, it looks like.
Regardless of what you think of the government's action, it's worth noting that Amazon didn't simply stop doing business in California -- no, they would never risk losing millions and millions of dollars of revenue simply on a matter of principle. Rather, they've sacrificed their affiliates (most of them small mom-and-poppers like me) and expect them to get pissed off enough to do their fighting for them.
Because, yeah, I'm angry. But not at California.
Sorry, Amazon, we've had a long and beautiful relationship over the years, and I really don't mind collecting (or paying) sales taxes. It's a consumption tax, after all, and let's face it, somebody has to pay for roads, schools and the like. I think it's my duty as a citizen to pay such taxes, even while reserving the right to complain when I'm not fond of what they're sometimes used for, and I've never bought into the notion that penny-pinching and greed (or tax evasion) is a sign of patriotism.
We'll leave that sort of revisionist history for those who think Paul Revere was a cowboy serial killer who freed the slaves or whatever.
Nope, penny-pinching and greed are simply signs of penny-pinching and greed, and hiding behind an antiquated, pre-internet loophole in the tax laws to avoid paying your fair share, whether you're a fat ass corporation or simply a cheapskate, is just wrong.
C'mon, Amazon. Do you really think your business will collapse if people have to pay sales tax on the items they purchase from you? Other online entities do it, and have been doing it for years, and they're at least as obsessed with the bottom line as you are.
And I laugh at the notion of you blaming the law on pressure from big box stores, as you did in one of your letters to me. That's like the Russian Mob demanding the cops arrest pickpockets.
But after years of waiting for some pie-in-the-sky trickle down theory to actually start working, it's clear it never will. The rich have steadily become richer in this country (despite their constantly whining ) while the average working family's spendable income has been stagnant (at best) for over thirty or forty years (most of it under "business-friendly" administrations), their manufacturing jobs have been outsourced (thanks, GOP!) and what little protections and services they/we once could counted on have been gutted to appease the corporate overlords. (Do we really need to know if our food is safe or our coal mines won't collapse? Do we really need to look after our soldiers?)
Here's a clue. That isn't wealth that's trickling down on us from the fat cats.
All that's left, for those of us lucky enough to still be employed, are poorly paid jobs in the service and retail industries, the only part of the economy to show any real growth over the years, and now on-line desperadoes like Amazon, who make zillions off working Americans, feel they don't have to follow the same rules as the little shop (or even the big store) around the corner does. And expect those same small shop owners, who may have once supplemented their income by being an Amazon affiliate, to take up arms in the name of corporate profits?
Yeah, so who cares if some local store goes out of business? Most Americans don't really care, despite all the flag waving and rhetoric. What really counts, apparently, is that someone saves 30 cents sales tax on a used book from Amazon.
Say what you like about big box stores (I work for one, and I could say plenty), but at least they hire LOCAL people.
But I digress....
In case you haven't quite figured out what this has to do with anything, well, the Amazon affiliate program is essentially what keeps THRILLING DETECTIVE WEB SITE going.
Sure, I accept advertising, and occasionally someone slips me a few bucks, courtesy of PayPal, but without Amazon, I'm not sure if I'll be able to justify the time and resources the site requires. And yes, I would gladly collect sales taxes, just as I gladly pay them.
I'm looking at alternative affiliate programs now (B&N wants a DNA sample from my great-great grandmother) but Daddy Warbucks, if you're out there, now's your turn to speak up.