Author of Adam and Steve, a novel about reexamining your prejudices

Posts tagged ‘United States Congress’

Taxation Without Representation is Alive and Well in D.C.

English: US Registration plate as seen in 2008...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taxation without representation, a British offense explicitly cited in the Declaration of Independence, formed the basis of a slogan that fueled a revolution more than 235 years ago. The right of an Englishman to be represented in Parliament dates back to the Magna Carta in the thirteenth century and was the deemed consent by the voting public to any act of Parliament. Without that right the acts of Parliament were illegal or so the British colonists argued. See,  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/taxation+without+representation+is+tyranny and  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_taxation_without_representation.

This core right of British democracy found its way into our Constitution in the form of the citizen’s right to elect voting representation in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. That right has endured for all Americans since America’s inception, except for the residents of the District of Columbia. They have no right to elect Senators and Congressmen who vote on legislation. They have been and remain disenfranchised. They have no member of Congress voting to champion their interests or assuage their grievances. See, http://dcvote.org/media/media.cfm?mediaID=4630.

Our Nation’s capital has more than 600,000 residents, a population larger than Wyoming and the 25th most populous place in the United States.

  • They pay approximately $1.6 billion a year in federal taxes – more per person than the residents of every state pay.
  • They volunteer for military service and have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country in numbers greater than 20 states.
  • D.C.’s economy is larger than the economies of 14 states.
  • Congress has the right to overturn all laws enacted by D.C.’s elected city council and all actions by its elected mayor.
  • Congress has approval rights over D.C.’s budget including the spending of local tax dollars for local purposes.
  • Like the residents of  Guam and Puerto Rico, D.C. residents have the right to elect a non-voting Representative, but unlike the residents of D.C., the residents of Puerto Rico and Guam pay no Federal taxes.
  • D.C. is the only capital of any democracy in the world where the residents have no right to vote in their country’s legislature.
  • Residents of our Nation’s capital have had no vote on momentous decisions, from the entering of every war that America has fought to the abolition of slavery in their own cityHttp://www.civilrights.org/voting-rights/dc-voting-rights/why-dc-voting-rights.html.

There should be at least a good reason why the citizens of the capital of the free world are treated more like the colonists who settled this country than the citizens of the democracy those colonists died to create. Unfortunately, the reasons most often cited are all the more troubling because they are at best – political, and at worst – racist. Apparently, too many of the residents of the District of Columbia are African-American and vote Democratic, and that seems to be reason enough to punish them with second-class citizenship. See, http://www.civilrights.org/voting-rights/dc-voting-rights/why-dc-voting-rights.html.

In the early 1790’s when the framers of our Constitution were still alive to explain constitutional provisions, the residents of D.C. had full voting representation. Congress, enhancing its power over the District, legislated away the District’s representation in 1801 and has maintained a stranglehold over the District ever since.  http://www.fairvote.org/d-c-voting-rights. More than two centuries have passed. It’s time for Congress to give back what it took away (or at least start the process if a constitutional amendment is necessary). Alternatively, Congress should relieve the residents of the District of Columbia from all obligations to pay Federal taxes. In America, it’s wrong to have it both ways.

Advertisements

Tag Cloud