THE VOICE OF REASON
Taxation

  A NEW TWIST ON THE "TAXATION-REPRESENTATION" ISSUE

"No taxation without representation!" was a rallying cry often heard in colonial America. John Joachim Zubly, a Swiss-born clergyman, who by 1769 was serving a church in the State of Georgia as a naturalized American citizen, viewed with strong disfavor the idea of American independence, yet even he took up the foregoing slogan. He believed that America could and should be submissive to the British Crown without being subservient  to  the heavy-handed taxing authority  of Parliament. 

Money is, of course, invariably the issue, and so it was then. The Parliament had imposed upon the colonists a series of revenue acts -- the Sugar Act, the Stamp Act, and the Townshend Duties. Americans became rankled, even righteously indignant. The prevailing idea throughout much of the citizenry was that, since there was no American seated in the British Parliament, who was specifically elected to represent American interests, Parliament was not morally authorized to impose taxes upon the colonists.

Most British pundits conceded at least part of that point. Although they knew that no American was seated in the Parliament, they still believed that all citizens of the British empire were virtually represented by that institution. This view was summarized by Thomas Whately in 1765, who was then a member of Parliament and would later defend the Stamp Act. He stated that "every Member of Parliament sits in the House [of Commons] not as representative of his own constituents but as one of that august assembly by which all the commons of Great Britain are represented."

John Wesley, the primary founder of America's Methodist movement and a saintly English gentleman, was convinced that America's position in this controversy was unreasonable and recalcitrant. He calmly emphasized that the British Parliament had the same right to tax Americans as any other English subjects. This foray by Wesley into political controversy did not increase his popularity much in America.

The "taxation-representation" issue was indeed at the forefront of debate in colonial America.

Without question, this issue continues to be of vital importance in contemporary America as well. There is today, however, a slight twist on the theme. Instead of "no taxation without representation," the hue and cry ought now to be "no representation without taxation." Liberal-progressive commentator, Thom Hartmann, is angry that most corporations in this country pay no federal income tax, or at least not their fair share. He's got an excellent point, and I agree with him. Tax loop-holes for corporations should be slammed shut, and immediately, even if it means their being forced to pay a flat tax.

But does the "no representation without taxation" idea, espoused by Hartmann and other left-wingers, not have an application beyond corporations? Consider able-bodied men and women, who are in the prime of life, and who neither work nor pay taxes. Should they have a voice in government? What about those long-term citizens who are not fluent in English, who demand bilingual ballots, and who have otherwise failed or refused to assimilate to traditional American culture? Should they not be deemed to have marginalized themselves in matters of American politics?

Think about this issue for a moment. Should responsible, hard-working, and culturally assimilated taxpayers be compelled to dilute their political power and influence in favor of those who are not only social drones, but could care not a whit for American tradition and culture? Isn't the situation somewhat like a slug insisting upon driving your car whenever and however he pleases, while you are the one making the payments? Perhaps a better analogy is this: assume that you agree to hire a financially challenged family of, let's say, five persons to perform work on real estate that you own and, what's more, that you agree to pay them a fair wage. Following their completion of the job, you hear rumblings among them that they now intend to reside on the property indefinitely and to assert, concurrently, their "right" to food and medical care, which they insist that you also provide. Further assume that the law authorizes these outrages with majority approval. Since it's five against two (you and your spouse), they are in the majority, and they win the day. It's a crudely simple illustration, but doesn't it exemplify what's happening in America today, with the nonsense of universal suffrage and all that it entails? 

Spencer Overton, pictured on the left, a former deputy attorney general under Eric Holder, wrote a book in 2006, entitled Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression, in which he fervently advocates for universal suffrage. This man thinks voter ID requirements and felon disenfranchisement are aimed at minorities and militate against their voting.  He pushes the idiocy of universal suffrage to a ridiculous extreme. 

Now consider the following: Mr. Obama's re-election campaign raked in $86 million during the last three months of this year. His campaign manager, Jim Messina, stated that 98% of this haul came from donations of $250 or less. If these figures are to be believed, what conclusion are we to draw? I don't know about you, but I've concluded the figures suggest that many who support Mr. Obama do so because they desire to continue receiving largess for themselves from the public treasury. They want to keep the chain of entitlements flowing. What better explanation is there?

Does anyone think for a moment that the preponderance of those who support Mr. Obama's "redistribution of wealth" initiatives are among the dwindling half of citizens who actually pay federal income tax? If my hunch is correct, the ship of state is being subjected, through the tyranny of universal suffrage, to a kind of mutiny, where rodents and other parasites in steerage are vying for command. Because they now have approximately the same voice in government as the taxpaying citizen,  they can vote for government which promotes the nanny state in order that their own material welfare can be enhanced.

Yes, it's intolerable, even obscene, that an American company which earns billions of dollars pays no taxes. But just as outrageous is the mentality which permits natural persons, who have never worked or contributed, to have a voice in the direction of government. Let me respectfully suggest that, as a general policy, most of the 40 million residents of this country who are on food stamps, along with most of the millions who avail themselves of Medicaid, the more than 8 million who are English-illiterate, the convicted felons, and the non-citizens, should have no voice whatsoever in government. That means, no vote! As beggars, they should not be choosers.

The time is long overdue for American leaders to re-think the blast of foolishly "democratic" demands. Those who work, pay taxes, and have a stake in the store should be the ones who run it and are called "American voters." 

It would be eye-opening to observe how quickly the landscape of American politics is transformed when only those who are contributing, or have contributed, to the country determine its course. The resultant sea changes might even approximate sanity. That would be a kick in the butt, now wouldn't it?

July 17, 2011