Yes, we know how hard it is for rich people like Jeff Bezos to get by in a free market. That is why George Will argues that taxpayers must subsidize Internet sellers by exempting them from having to collect sales taxes on out of state sales.

While Will argues that the market should decide which retailers win or lose, in fact, he is pushing a position that is 180 degrees opposite the free market one he claims. He is arguing that the state should require brick and mortar stores to collect taxes, but allow Internet sellers to avoid taxes — apparently, because George Will likes Internet sellers. So family-owned book and clothing stores have to collect taxes, but Internet retailers that could be one thousand times their size, do not.

Will seems to think that the prospect of collecting taxes that differ across 12,000 state and local jurisdictions pose an insurmountable problem. Actually, since we have had spreadsheets for four decades, most sellers should be able to easily deal with this issue, and if they can't, they probably should not be in business. (As a practical matter, no one gives a damn if a seller occasionally makes a mistake in assessing taxes.  Getting 99-plus percent right should be easily doable.)

Will also wrongly claims that Amazon collects sales taxes in all 45 states which have them. While Amazon collects taxes on its direct sales, it does not collect taxes on the sales of its "affiliates," which account for more than 40 percent of its total sales.

As is noted in this piece, Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post. It would be interesting to see if a similarly misleading statement that reflected badly on Amazon would be allowed to stand uncorrected in the paper.