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Taxation without Representation

2010 March 6
by Gordon Reid

Every time I visit Washington, D.C. I am amused at the number plates of the local automobiles, which read “Taxation without Representation”. I suppose it is part of the District’s campaign to be given its own members in Congress, maybe even to become the fifty-first state.

I am amused, because when I was recently filling in my U.S. tax papers, I realized that I shared the fate of the dwellers of the District of Columbia. I, as a permanent resident of the U.S.A, am taxed, but I have no political representation at all. In the U.K. we have a sort of half-way-house, where foreign residents are permitted to vote in local elections but not in national ones.

Of course if I really want a vote here, I can always apply for citizenship, but I think I’ll just stay British. It is too much work to go and pour a cup of tea into Boston Harbor!

6 Responses leave one →
  1. rugerdon permalink
    March 7, 2010

    “No Taxation Without Representation” was a rallying cry during the founding of the United States of America. It was never written in the Constitution.

  2. Jeff Ezell, PhD permalink
    March 7, 2010

    Father, I believe you’ll find that in the UK that only applies to EU citizens, whilst Commonwealth citizens are able to have full voting rights. Americans, however, get nothing.

  3. citizenw permalink
    March 7, 2010

    A better phrase is “Governed Without Consent”. It’s not about the taxes, it’s about equal participation, about equal treatment as free men, along with the rest of our countrymen.

    Perhaps you Brits don’t get it, or don’t care?

  4. Disgusted in DC permalink
    March 7, 2010

    I was in favor of ending income taxes for DC residents as the solution to this problem. The flip side of the issue is that the several states (and by extension, the average American taxpayer) have as much an “ownership” interest in Nation’s Capital as do the people who happen to live in DC, including yours truly. It will not do to exclude Congress from DC affairs altogether, (since DC’s local affairs are every American citizen’s business). That is the real political goal for most of these activists and local politcal types, not just representation in Congress (the latter I support, but not without a constitutional amendment).

    This is, of course, turning the “Catholic” principle of subsidiarity on its head, but DC is a special exception.

  5. theodoreharvey permalink
    March 14, 2010

    As an unreconstructed Tory monarchist who loves the Queen and mourns the Revolution, I hope you will indeed stay British! And while you’re at it, how about the correct words (“O Lord, Save the Queen”) in the Responses at Evensong? ;)

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