Overstock.com's Patrick Byrne on Internet Sales Taxes, Naked Short-Selling & Regulatory Capture


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Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie sat down recently with Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, the online retailer famous for sexy ads ("It's all about the O"), low, low prices, and hyperattentive customer service.

Born in 1962 and now living in Utah, Byrne holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford and serves as the co-chair (with Rose Friedman) of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. He is the former manager of Blackhawk Investment, a cancer survivor, and a black belt in tae kwon do.

An outspoken critic of online sales taxes, Byrne is a self-declared libertarian who champions short-selling while adamantly opposing the more-controversial practice of "naked" short-selling.

From his journalistic perch at the blog Deep Capture, he and his colleagues regularly chart the ways in which regulators routinely stifle innovation and maintain a status quo that favors connected firms at the cost of competitors and consumers alike.

Raised in New Hampshire, Byrne describes himself as a former "Yankee Republican" who has never felt comfortable with anti-market Democrats and no longer recognizes the GOP as the party of small government and individual liberty.

In this 10-minute interview, Byrne explains why school choice is the key issue of our day, how bad regulations contributed to the current economic crisis, and why "the government should pave the roads, run the Post Office, and stay off my porch."

Filmed by Dan Hayes and edited by Meredith Bragg.

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