Dusty Brighton, internet flack
by Steve Timmer
May 5, 2017, 8:00 PM

“It’s illogical,” says Dusty

There was an op-ed by a flack for internet retailers in the paper edition of the Strib on May 3rd. It concerned the entirely oppressive requirement, proposed by lawmakers, that out-of-state internet sellers collect sales taxes on sales to their Minnesota customers, just as the brick and mortar stores do.

I don’t know how this one got by even Dougie Tice. It was written by some airhead named Dustin Brighton of the “Internet Association,” which represents “America’s leading internet companies.” That’s like representing the “Shirt Association.” In fact, shirt manufacturers actually make something; the Internet Association members mostly do not. I couldn’t find, by the way, a Dustin Brighton in the local phone book. It appears from the link above he’s just another Beltway PR, well, flack.

Right off the bat, Dustin goes to the ramparts for internet retailers by claiming that an internet sales tax will stifle innovation. Here’s the lede:

Minnesota started 2017 with a significant commitment to expanding the state’s economy through innovation.

How our flack Dustin knows this, I am not sure; he lives in D.C.

I have a hot tip for you, Dusty, you dimwit, selling shirts over the internet is not innovation: they’re still shirts. A lot of the magic has gone out of the internet over the years, and we’re starting to recognize — finally — that it is merely another way to distribute goods and services. The internet doesn’t need protection to coax it to life; it’s filled with predatory assholes like Amazon who will cheerfully suck the life out of local retailing every chance they get. And Dusty is at their sides to help them. Faithful squire Dusty.

Remember how Grandma used to pick up a few hours every week at the local Rexall to help pay for the prescriptions she bought there? Well, forget that shit. Dusty and his pals don’t need Grandma. Unless she wants to buy something. Then, lay your credit card down, Grandma.

Dusty makes the entirely bullshit argument that taxing internet sales would be discriminatory. Being able to do this with a straight face is why Dusty can afford to live in D.C.

What it would do, perhaps obviously to anyone except Dusty, is attempt to level the playing field, even a little, between the Amazons of the world and your neighbor who runs a local five and dime.

Personally, I don’t think this is a bad thing. It’s just rooting for the home team.

The sales tax and the income tax are the two principal ways that state government finances what it does. That is, among other things, public safety, health and human services, and local government aid, the latter being a giant lifeline to rural communities.

It is really, really important to recognize that Beltway jerks like Dusty Brighton don’t care about that.

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