13 May 2010

Taxation Without Representation



[Above] In the year 2000 the words "Taxation Without Representation" were added to the bottom of the Washington, D.C. license plates to protest the District's lack of representation in Congress.

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Washington D.C. is an interesting place. Almost every museum or monument you go to has free admission. And at some monuments they even have free guided tours all day until midnight.

But one thing they don't have in D.C. is voting rights in congress. You see, Washinton D.C. is not a state, it's a federal district. In fact it is the District of Columbia. And since the Constitution makes clear that representation must come from the states, the people of D.C. are represented in the House of Representatives by a non-voting delegate - who may sit on committees, participate in debate, and introduce legislation, but cannot vote on the House floor. Hence, Washington D.C. has no representation in the United States Senate.

However, they are still subject to all U.S. federal taxes. A lot of taxes. They're getting screwed!

This is pretty ironic if you consider that this was one of the instigating factors of the American Revolution. The colonists in America were imposed great taxes but had no representation in the English Parliament... and so had no means to object to them. They got angry, threw some tea into the Boston Harbour, people were called names and a war broke out.

At least that's my understanding of American history. ;)


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