Consumerism, Capitalism and Taxation are all immensely flawed ideas on their own, especially in terms of how they are conducted within the United States. And although I would prefer vastly different approaches to our way of life, society does not seem to be convinced there is a problem (or at least is not willing to make any sort of drastic changes).
So, on the verge of Amazon requiring customers to pay sales tax- I offer a compromise; only charge sales tax on items that are unnecessary, detrimental or otherwise inconsequential. And this is not simply in regards to Amazon or online shopping, but nation wide. For example, it would be perfectly acceptable to charge sales tax on: cigarettes and tobacco, alcohol, jewelry and entertainment. While essential items such as; automobiles, clothing, groceries, computers and cell phones, ect would be tax exempt.
Furthermore, the amount one is charged sales tax should reflect the item being purchased. For instance, products such as alcohol and tobacco, which have no redeeming qualities, should be taxed far more heavily than items that constitute leisure, or are simply excessive. The absence of sales tax on essential items could then be balanced by the increased tax on adverse items / spending.
The benefits of implementing this type of taxation would be multifaceted. With a higher rate of sales tax on detrimental items such as alcohol and tobacco, the rate of consumption would likely decrease, with each becoming more a luxury- thereby reducing the amount of deaths related to alcohol and tobacco. In addition, people may also become less interested in, or rather less willing to, make unessential purchases- opting instead to save and spend money on sensible and more practical things. In short, there is little, other than dramatic change, that could be considered a downside to this sort of taxation.
This will probably offend someone.
Text me, maybe?