By Lisa Desjardins, CNN
Follow on Twitter: @LisaDCNN
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Washington (CNN) – Late this afternoon, the U.S. Senate is voting on and will likely pass what would be the largest expansion of taxes on the Internet.
The plan is called the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that gives States the power to insist that online company charge sales tax. (In return for that power, the Senate would require that states simplify their tax codes.)
That title, “Marketplace Fairness Act” points to the political problem here. This is a tax bill in a time when taxes are political outcasts. Why is the Senate poised to pass it now?
[2:45] "Because government is actually desperate for revenue, they’re looking at absolutely every corner they can hit," says Christopher Morris, chairman of the philosophy department at University of Maryland
State governments need money. However, the votes probably would not be forthcoming if the bill were called “The Increase Taxes On The Internet Act."
Instead, the Senate is pushing the fairness issue, implying it’s not fair that states are losing sales tax money due to untaxed Internet sales.
[3:32] Luke Johnson, philosophy Ph. D. candidate at the University of Georgia says "Everyone walks around talking about justice and philosophy as if they know what they are… that does seem to be at work in the Marketplace Fairness Act."
However, opponents point out that sales tax in physical stores theoretically supports the road and infrastructure that allow the store to exist. So then, why would the Internet need sales tax?, they ask.
To hear an answer to that question, listen to our story about when and which taxes are fair. It may get you thinking. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.