Paul Greenberg

The question of whether to tax online sales isn't unlike the old one of whether to collect tariffs on imported goods. The answer depends on what stage a country's economy has reached -- whether its industries are still developing and in need of protection from foreign competition, or whether they're strong enough to stand on their own and compete in a free market.

This little baby called the Internet grew up some time ago. It's become a computerized colossus, and it doesn't need this free ride any more.

Whether chain store or local institution, superstore or mom-and-pop, the businesses that have to collect sales taxes are growing tired of great big competitors who don't.

Why should online outfits get away with something that others, often little companies, can't?

It's time Amazon and online giants like it paid their fair share when it comes to sales taxes. There's a lot of talk these days about a Fair Tax; this really would be one.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.