You know the WSJ is up to something when it argues against something because “big business and big government are uniting to pursue their mutual interest in sticking it to the little guy.”

So what’s the opposition really about? We find out only in the 14th and final paragraph:

More likely the new revenues will merely fund larger government.

Consider that a brushback pitch to the Republican-controlled House.

But the sales tax is a critical component of how most states and cities fund their governments—about one-fourth of their revenue, which has already been slammed by the economic downturn.

Meantime, one in six non-food retail dollars is now spent online, something that costs governments up to $23 billion a year. And online sales as a percentage of overall retail sales are still growing fast (h/t Matthew Yglesias):

The opposition to Internet taxation, in other words, isn’t about sticking the little guy (by the way, mom and pop retailers get hammered by the current Internet tax laws) or logistical nightmares. It’s about profit and competitive advantage for eBay and online retailers and and its about starve-the-beast for the WSJ and its ilk.


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at