Are You OverTaxed By Your Government?
Unless you have no income, then the answer is Yes. Americans today are overtaxed and just as in 1776, there is no visible representation. Have you ever met a Senator? Do they really exist? Has your U.S. Representative ever been within five blocks of your home? Our representatives are unlike most ordinary citizens. They have become larger than life, and if the truth be known, they don;t really represent us at all. SO, if not us, then whom?
The spirit and reality of representative government that enlivened this country following the American Revolution has all but eroded into what we see today: an ad hoc litany of superficial homage to the discarded bedrock of what was once the very foundation of this great country.
Our representatives in the House, the Senate, in state legislatures and city councils across the U.S. have forgotten their duties as representatives of the people. Additionally, the president, the governors, the mayors, and other prefects of the people in the executive branches of governments across the land have too conveniently forgotten that the primary fundamentals of our representative constitutional democracy start with representation. No single branch of government can claim immunity in the sale and resale of the United States to outside interests and American corporations. Each knows no moral bound or impediment to the gluttonous drive to perpetuate its self-serving two-party system. Even the judiciary is more caught up in preserving the two-party system than permitting deserving independents their opportunity to run for public office.
All of the candidates running for president in 2008 called for big changes. They were all right. They struck a chord with the American people on "change" but none offered specifics. Barack Obama came from no-place as the original cheerleader in charge to ultimately win the presidency. What a campaigner! Is that what we must do today? Elect the best campaigner? If he or his opponent could have put a little substance on this plate, say a few really specific and helpful changes maybe we would have had a better standard bearer. But we were doomed from the start as he was formerly a Senator of the U.S. charged with representing the people. Did he do that? Look at the results as Obama, Clinton, and McCain were all supposed to be representing ordinary citizens while they were senators? What do we have to show for any of their representation?
Barack Obama is the new president of the United States and we must all wish him well, and as ordinary citizens, and he, having once been an ordinary citizen, we share a common bond that may help us all do well in the next four years. Unfortunately, and I don't want to dwell on anything negative because what is done is done and we must move on, there is a strong possibility that we are headed down the same road for another four years. We must remember that the final two Democrats, Hillary Rodham CLinton and Barack Obama and the one standing Republican were all members of that elite group of leaders that we call the Senate. That says a lot all on its own. It should set our expectations properly. All of these suppsoed represeantatives of the people, and yet representation was not happening. Sending any of them them back and rewarding them with a better position is probably not the right thing for the republic to do. And, of course now we have a fourth senator in the mix, Joseph Biden of Delaware or ahem, Scranton!
Obviously, from the 2008 primaries, and the general eelection, there are many ordinary citizens who have tuned into this desperate need for change but not the way I would have done it. Throw the bums out! We've had eight years of an unresponsive presidency with unprotected borders. Our Congress (Obama, Clinton, McCain, Biden et al) fraught with infighting, back-stabbing, and blame games seemingly peeled from the script pages of a discarded low-budget sitcom. The result would warrant humor were it not so dire in its implications.
For years many of the older generation would joke when somebody would complain that Congress had gotten nothing done this term. Their response was "Good." So, maybe it's good that nothing was getting done for in this age it means that the corporations aren't getting any further ahead of us. In late 2008 before the general elections, Congress unfortunately Congress felt compelled to take some action. Even John McCain drove into town on a white horse so that he could be duly noted as having done nothing. In just a few months, they have runied the economy and given away trillions of our tax dollars to non breathing citizens, the formerly wealthiest corporations. They did not do it alone. They did it with the president's full assistance. Another remarkable Bush legacy!
The report card is mostly in on the current executive and legislative branches but with more bailouts and corporate welfare opportunities available, the card is not yet complete. The grades are not good. We should not have sent any of them back to do anything for us. For the last eight years, our country has been sold out. Actually, it's a lot more than eight. Go back another twelve years past the Clintons to the last Bush. For twenty years not only was there no progress, but the state of affairs has gotten substantially worse and government has become even more complacent and neglectful towards the ordinary citizen who obligingly picks up the tab for all the largesse.
Those in power need to be held accountable: No repeat performances and no repeat performers. American prosperity has been sold down the tubes as jobs and national secrets and intellectual property have gone overseas and labor arbitrage is the order of the day at home. There are few ordinary citizens better off today than the day Ronald Reagan left office. This country does need change, change for the better, and there are many areas in which we all can make big improvements. Step One begins with accountability.
I wrote a whole book about this topic called Taxation Without Representation. If you like this article, you'll love the book.
Though charged with the duty to represent the people, public servants are so overwhelmed with self interests, special interests, the interests of corporations and the interests of other countries that they have no time to work for the people. Today's "honorables" are not serving America honorably.
"No taxation without representation" was the catch phrase in the period of 1763-1776 to summarize the major grievance of the American colonists in the Thirteen American Colonies, incipient kernels of what would later become the United States of America. When King George III of England and the English Parliament began to impose new taxes on the colonists (Stamp Act, Intolerable Acts, etc.) without their concurrence, Reverend Jonathan Mayhew of Boston coined this term during one of his sermons in Boston. Another Bostonian, a politician by the speak of the day, James Otis, changed this just a bit and he is well known for the phrase, "taxation without representation is tyranny." Tyranny it was and in this book, you will see that tyranny it surely is again.
In 1773, American Colonists violently opposed the tax on tea imports at the most celebrated Tea Party of all time. The Boston Tea Party is recognized as the first experience in which the colonists acted against the Crown. Of course, the British could not accept this "illegal act" as they saw that it would undermine the authority of the Crown and Parliament. When the British Government began to crack down on these "illegal activities" performed by the colonists, the colonists chose to defend themselves in case the British Government did not hear their pleas to correct the abuses.
During the revolution, the colonists formed militias and took control of each of the thirteen colonies, expelling the Crown-appointed governors and beginning the independence process for the new states. I am not suggesting that a revolution is in order now but it may be time for dumping a spot of tea in Boston Harbor. Perhaps a few teapots worth of brew would symbolize that it is time to take America back from the political class, the Owner Class, the greedy Corporations, the Corrupt CEOs, Union Chiefs, and any one else who does not respect our democracy.
Patrick Henry, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, and many other brave Patriots helped create a more perfect union of states despite the personal hardships they endured and the major risks that they took. The cry of the colonists against Great Britain was not that high taxes were being exacted. Actually, the taxes were minimal. The issue was the fact that the taxes and everything else about the colonies were decided in London, and there were no representatives of the colonies permitted to be heard. It was thus the lack of representation, and not specifically the taxation, that was the big issue. History has repeated itself and the magnitude of this problem (lack of representation) dictates that the time is now for ordinary citizens to do something about it. It is time to win back our country. Don;t permit even one politician to be reelectd and then start throwing out the entrenched bureaucrats who thrive on deceit and chicanery while fattening their personal herds.
After the revolution, George Washington accepted British General Cornwallis's surrender. During the war, the Founding Fathers were running the government from the Articles of Confederation while they were working on a better way. When the representatives of the thirteen colonies of the United States put together their beliefs about how things were to be in the future, this august body codified their thoughts into one of the most wonderful documents ever written. As we all know, this almost-perfect document is known as the Constitution of the United States of America and it was put forth in order to create a more perfect union.
The Constitution of the United States delineates that the purpose of the government is to be--by, for, and of--the citizens of the United States. Corporations are not mentioned in the Constitution as citizens or unfeeling creatures or entities of any kind, simply because the colonists and the Founding Fathers had great disdain for corporations. The last thing on their minds was to build a new government to please these huge fictitious abstractions. The last thing they would have approved is to take the meager wealth of ordinary citizens and give it to these mismanagaed behemoths with nobody going to jail.
Representation of the people was to be in the form of three separate branches of government, executive (President), legislative (Congress), and judicial (Supreme Court and the Judiciary). This form of government under the Constitution has endured to this day but it is definitely having its challenges.
With 5 million people living in the colonies back then, it would have been difficult to fit all 5 million into the same church basement or town hall to conduct the affairs of government. So, a strict direct democracy was not feasible, and the form of our government became a representative democracy with a governing set of rules known as a Constitution. Just a cursory reading of the Constitution and you would quickly see how our government was formed and you could then see clearly that today's representatives are changing it to suit their needs, in ways that would be declared unconstitutional if brought before the court. Who said they could do that? We say it when we reelect the bums!
Corporations and politicians are playing on the same team. Corporations act together in an organized way so they have their fingers on the pulse of exactly how much it costs to buy Congress and how much it costs to buy public opinion. They are out actively buying up enough of both Congress and public opinion to serve their own selfish interests. Consider the cascade of wages tumbling down and down and further down. They have been systematically lowering workers wages and blaming circumstances beyond their control. Since they own Congress, and the media, it has been very easy. Rewarding Senators who have clearly been part of the problem by supporting their presidential candidacies is the ultimate proof that they own public opinion. How could we do that? If it isn't our Senators and House members who have betrayed us, then who is it? We need to get Congress back to working for the public and the best way to do that is to start clean.
When you have the time, take a look at the most important U.S. historical documents such as The Declaration of Rights and Grievances, The Articles of Association, The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and The U.S. Constitution. If you choose to add Taxation Without Representation to your personal libray, these documents are all included as appendices. The book and the U.S. precious documents are ntended to serve as a compact compendium for any student of American History or Government to keep handy for various purposes.
The Constitution is a key part of the governmental structure of the U.S. and in many ways was drafted so that after just one or after several hundred years, the three forms of power defined within the document would not be able to hijack the government, any time in the future. Unfortunately, the hijacking of the American Government is well underway with the complicity of all the branches of government. Only ordinary citizens can stop this by not inviting the weasels back into the Hen House.
Our leaders have forgotten that they work for the people and not vice versa. You can see the signs of a government unresponsive to its people in regards to a number of major issues such as the unbridled rise of corporate power, the giveaway of American jobs to those in other countries as well as jobs for legal and illegal foreign nationals, undefended borders and the intrusion of illegal aliens into all aspects of American life and the associated costs to the citizenry.
Additionally, there are legitimate concerns regarding the tools and the rules of our election process. Have elections already been hijacked from the people? Have the two major parties made it impossible for an independent candidate to run for the highest offices in the land? It sure seems that way. Ask Ralph Nader and others. As Democrats and Republicans join under the bi-partisan mantra, that just means that nobody is watching. It is up to ordinary citizens to bring forth workable solutions to get our government back on track. Start by bringing in the replacement players.
Members of government in all branches have begun a new aristocracy of leadership and they have become seemingly impervious to the will of the people. Though all (other than Supreme Court justices, Cabinet Members and other appointees) continue to be elected by the people and thus are theoretically accountable to the people, they all have other interests that are more important. Most are unduly influenced by the power and money of large corporations and the Owner Class of billionaires.
Even the two major political parties work to unfairly limit the candidates rather than help the election process. Moreover, it takes a well trained eye even to find a minimal difference between many of the candidates they bring forth. To understand how far along this hijacking really has come, you might ask yourself when the last time it was that one of your representatives in any branch of government at any level, represented you, your needs, and your concerns. The answer may be too chilling to accept.
Beware the lulling idea that your government cannot be taken over by rich members of an Owner Class or de-facto by corporations. The quickest way to assure this is to stop caring and to stop voting and to let them have their way. You and I have to care about this. I wrote this article because I care. Together, we can hope to energize Americans again as in the 1700's that this magnificent democracy is worth fighting for. I hope you will remain vigilant and take the actions necessary so that this experiment in democracy, this United States of America can persevere and succeed for many hundreds and hundreds more years.