Betty Yee's Outrageous Untruth
By David Henderson
Having just returned from my vacation in Canada, I got around to reading tax advocate Betty Yee’s side of the “Amazon tax” issue. Yee is a member of the California Board of Equalization. I had argued against the tax but I hadn’t seen her argument until I returned.
Imagine my shock when I read the following:
A week later, Amazon.com launched a referendum campaign to preserve its legal loophole, a clear demonstration it is willing to do anything to avoid complying with the law, no matter the cost to California small businesses and jobs. So much for Amazon.com’s ethics code and its emphasis on compliance with every law.
So Yee’s own evidence is that Amazon complied with the law. But, in her view, launching a campaign to preserve its legal loophole is to avoid complying with the law. What does the term “legal loophole” mean to Ms. Yee? Isn’t it a law that someone takes advantage of? But to say it’s a law that someone takes advantage of is to say that someone who takes advantage of it is complying with the law.
I’m surprised–maybe I shouldn’t be–that none of the letter writers who addressed her and my arguments caught her false statement. I would accuse Betty Yee of lying but lying requires not just saying something false but also knowingly saying something false. I don’t know which is scarier: a lying tax official or a tax official who doesn’t know that lobbying to change a law is not a refusal to comply with the law.