IN WASHINGTON, pressure to regulate big business is no novelty. But things seem rather topsy-turvy when the source of that pressure is big business itself.
The National Journal explains why retailers have concluded that more federal intervention is a good thing. At least, that is, when it comes to data.
In the wake of the holiday data breaches, Target and others are “begging Congress to tell them what to do.” That’s because they’re currently subject to 47 different compliance standards for 46 states plus D.C. They’d much rather have just one.
But building support for a “unified standard” isn’t easy. As the Journal notes, “educating conservatives” is the most daunting obstacle. Those with purist laissez-faire sentiments have a visceral dislike for all regulations, so it takes some convincing to disabuse them of the idea that a single standard is “just another nanny-state intrusion into companies’ private affairs.” Even Mary Bono, a former Republican Congresswoman from California and supporter of the standard, admits that the whole thing is “sort of counterintuitive.”
And so it may be. Yet it remains perfectly logical for a behemoth like Target, with 1,797 stores in the U.S. alone, to want to answer to the State and not the states. Another giant, Amazon, has faced a similar challenge with regard to state sales tax. It seems that for the mega retailers, more government can actually mean less.