Politicians Attack the Online, But Fear the Offline

CNN Money ran this story a few days back about how the State of Ohio want to chase down eBay sellers for a few extra bucks, by requiring they get auctioneers licenses: Ohio law would require auction license for eBay sellers – Mar. 7, 2005.

Licensure (in most cases) is less a regulatory and consumer protection mechanism than it is a revenue one. In this case it is certainly so.

The politicians know that eBay has a growing seller base, and they want a piece of it. There is no consumer protection thoughts at hand, because eBay does that for everyone (at least the best they can). What the politicos want is a few extra bucks to use for spin – spin as in cloak the red-ink all over their budgets.

They could just raise property taxes on inflated home values, and solve their budget problems in its tracks, but that would piss too many people off. They need those jobs, you know, as they don’t have the skills to do anything else. They either don’t realize this is going to put a lot of small time entrepreneurs out of business, or the drafters of the bill already own bonding companies.

For more on the issue, you can check out the Slashdot community’s comments here: Slashdot | Ohio Wants eBayers to Post $50k Bond.

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