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No Representation without Taxation…

When founding the country, one of the clarion calls for liberty was no taxation without representation. It was only fair to demand that if citizens are taxed they should have a voice in their government. By logical extension, if a person pays no taxes, should they have representation, that is to say should they have a vote?

With nearly 45% of Americans paying no income tax, and because of their tax bracket, likely to receive some form of government assistance, they become a burden on those of who do pay taxes. De Tocqueville remarked that as soon as a people realize they can vote themselves anything from the public trough a democracy could not survive.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”

Consequently, we were not formed as a democracy, but a republic, with restrictions placed on the power of the federal government. A careful reading of the Constitution (a document specifically limiting the powers of government) will show that the Federal government has no power to provide relief or welfare services. These are recent additions to the role of the federal government added in the last hundred years.

This omission is not an oversight, but deliberate. However, with the advent of income tax, and the institution of Roosevelt’s New Deal, and later L.B. Johnson’s Great Society, our government underwent a radical change where the Federal government became a teat from which people could suckle the wealth of the nation.

We radically changed from a government of limited power to one where the door to excessive government welfare was opened. People were empowered to vote representatives that would funnel more and more money from taxpayers into the pockets of individuals who did not contribute, but only consumed.

The idea behind representative taxation was that individuals would have fair representation and taxation, but with the upside down model of citizens who pay no taxes, indeed many of them receive faux tax refunds, who nonetheless have the same vote as a man who pays millions in taxes, and their is no fair representation.

As their numbers grow, these individuals can vote more money from the earners and supporters for their own use, and as a consequence, have a devastating effect on the taxpayer. It begs the question, should those who pay no tax have an equal vote with those who do?

The danger of a public which can continually vote more and more from the taxpayers is that they have the power to stifle even the most robust economy. When we consider that collapse of the housing market, government regulation that strong armed banks into making loans to minorities who could ill afford the loans, all in the interest of fairness.

The problem is, that while we have made great strides in improving the human condition, the world remains an unfair place. Not everyone has equal talent, equal drive, or equal results. Children bemoan the unfairness of life. Adults recognize it and work harder to compensate for it.

Not everyone will be rich, not everyone will be healthy, not everyone will be happy. Circumstances are variable and the consequences will also be variable.

But when a group of people, dangerously close to 50% of the population, pay no taxes and receive some form of government assistance, the danger of politicians who promise more and more assistance getting elected by this group who have representation without taxation become greater, and threatens the welfare of our nation.

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