Let the DNC Decision Stay

Is it better to appeal the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold the national no-call registry or let the matter go? That’s the question facing officials at the American Teleservices Association and the Direct Marketing Association right now. On the one hand, just lying down and letting government impose more regulations is never good. But neither is ticking off 56 million Americans who signed up for the registry in hopes of having their telephones stop ringing.

This is why the DMA has taken the stance that it has since the registry was first put into legal limbo last fall because of lower court rulings. “Regardless of where we go from here, we will follow the law and hold steady to the pledge we made,” DMA president/CEO H. Robert Wientzen said last week. (Why the DMA filed its lawsuit in the first place is an entirely different question.) However, the DMA earned big brownie points in Washington for doing what it did. And it makes sense. If a consumer went to the trouble of putting his number into the registry, he’s expecting it to work now, so getting called at night is just going to inflame him, no matter what you’re selling. It also helps the cause regarding spam and sending e-mails just to the people who want to receive your offers.

And what would happen if the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the case and ended up reversing the decision? Would any good come from that? No, it would be a hollow victory that would only make a significant portion of the public hate the industry more than it already does. The decision by the appeals court should stay as it is – as hard as that may be to swallow – and the DMA and ATA should turn their attention to working with the government and making the regulations as tolerable as possible.

Use Taxes and Line 56

Till someone figures out how to simplify the tax codes so mail-order and Internet shopping can be taxed, more than 20 states have added lines on their income tax forms for taxpayers to declare their owed sales tax from those purchases with out-of-state firms. New York’s solution is line 56, which also makes taxpayers figure out the difference if they bought something in another state that was taxed at a lesser rate. Knowing its instructions are indecipherable, New York added a chart breaking down amounts for purchases less than $1,000 each for various income levels: If you make $50,001-$75,000, you should pay $34. Still, I wonder how many people will tell New York to take a hike.

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