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Trump Gloats After SCOTUS Dings Online Retailers: “Great Victory For Consumers”

After the Supreme Court sent shares of Amazon and other e-commerce companies spiraling lower earlier today (before the dip was promptly bought). And of course, with the court’s ruling potentially dealing a multi-billion dollar blow to one of President Trump’s greatest rivals, the president took a few moments to gloat about the ruling in a tweet sent this afternoon.

Without naming Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos or the company directly, Trump celebrated the “Big Supreme Court win on internet sales tax – about time! Big victory for fairness and for our country. Great victory for consumers and retailers.”

To be sure, it’s unclear exactly how much the ruling could cost Amazon. And Congress still needs to act to put in place a law that would mandate sales-tax collection on e-commerce sales, according to CNBC.

Some speculate that the deal could even help Amazon by making life more difficult for its smaller e-commerce rivals, who don’t already have the compliance infrastructure set up to collect sales taxes. As for Amazon, the company already collects sales taxes for most of its “first-party” sales (i.e. sales of products made directly by Amazon). But sales by “third-party” merchants account for roughly half of the traffic on the Amazon’s platform. And if states start demanding more sales-tax collection, these merchants could find themselves in a difficult spot. Luckily for them, Amazon – which never passes up an opportunity to wring every last cent of profit from its “partners” – already operates a service whereby it charges merchants nearly 3% to handle sales-tax collection for them.

Trump

Thursday’s decision overturned a 1992 ruling that allowed online retailers to avoid sales tax collection responsibilities in states where they don’t have a physical presence.

We now await a response from Bezos. Who knows? Maybe, instead of campaigning on social media to launch Trump into space, he’ll reserve a spot on one of his Blue Origin rockets for Justice Anthony Kennedy.