Clinton Calls On E-Commerce For Economic Recovery

By Michelle Amodio March 17, 2011

It’s not a sure-fire way to fix the economy, but perhaps a step in the direction towards recovery.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton called upon the technology sector to do its part in recovering the ailing economy, particularly when it comes to e-commerce. Basically,pay your taxes, Internet.

Having spoke at this week’s ICANN in San Fransisco, Clinton recalled the more prosperous years during the 1990s and how the IT industry was integral in creating new jobs, citing that 30 percent of job growth was due to technology. Once a supporter of exempted sales tax for online retailers, Clinton believes e-commerce has grown significantly to the point of having an unfair advantage to its brick and mortar counterparts. Essentially, Clinton is calling for a consumption tax.

"If you want to keep taxes low and want countries to keep competitive tax systems then you have to have some form of consumption tax," said Clinton as reported by PC Magazine.

Clinton’s change of heart on taxing e-commerce is due largely to economic changes and growth. Having come a long way since the 1990s, the structure and competition of the e-commerce market has grown exponentially since its earlier days, what with consumers relying heavily on the Internet for many of their day-to-day purchases. The changes Clinton is proposing are to mirror the changed environment.

"I think that in general we should keep doing what we're doing and make appropriate modifications. I do think there's a big story in the paper today about whether e-commerce ought to include, particularly if it crosses a certain threshold and size, collecting and remitting sales taxes. And all I ask you to think about is this: I fought very hard for this not to happen for an extended period of time so e-commerce could get started and get going,” said Clinton.

Clinton got a little anecdotal when talking about competitive tax systems. A local bookstore in his hometown of Chappaqua, N.Y. had closed in the shadow of e-commerce, to which Clinton asked why favor those doing well and burden those who are struggling?

He suggested that while getting developing nations online can help spur economic growth, infrastructure also needs to be put in place to ensure that technological and educational developments translate into economic growth and improved quality of life.

Clinton sees a challenge in making sure that technological developments can help to generate new jobs. He has also backtracked on a policy that many credit with helping to foster the birth of online commerce.


Michelle Amodio is a TechZone360 contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

TechZone360 Contributor

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