Monday, May 11, 2009

Interesting Movements

There are several anti-government (well, more anti big, bloated, socialist government) movements recently: the Tea Parties, people starting to wake up to how truly horrible and frightening Obama and the current Congress are, etc. I ran across another on this blog, talking about states passing bills to remind the federal government that despite their efforts and propaganda to the contrary, the Constitution limits the powers the federal government has compared to the individual states (not that the states are any better at governing in many cases, eg: California, but it's a start).

Anyway, this sorta dove-tails into a thought I've been having for a while. When the original American revolution happened, the rally cry was "no taxation without representation." At the time, this was in reference to the practice of taxing the goods in the American colonies, but not providing the colonies with any representation in the government imposing the taxes. It was a clear case of an "out-of-control" government (in that the colonist had no control over it) abusing people it governed, taxing them for wasteful spending and obvious wealth redistribution, and governing in the interests of a few well-connected people as opposed to the people in general.

Now it occurs to me that we basically have the same situation now, in large part. Yes, the people nominally have representation, but mechanisms like the electoral college make that nonexistent in practice (eg: since I live in California, my vote was cast for Obama, as repugnant as I personally find that). Moreover, if you look at demographics, the people paying the taxes vote predominantly Republican, sometimes in contrary to the general population (and presumably because the Republicans generally have less wealth redistribution in their policies). In essence, for many people in the country, we have no representation, the out-of-control government is abusing the majority of the country (at least financially speaking), and it is governing in the interests of a corrupt, well-connected few at the expense of the people in general.

Now I have no illusions about the ability of the common American to affect the actual corrupt political process through protest or rally; it would take a revolt to get real change, and the country is not yet in a dire enough situation for people to rise up against their oppressors. However, I would personally be somewhat happier with a simple compromise: no taxation without representation. I don't feel I should have to pay taxes to a corrupt government which I did not have any say in electing and which doesn't represent my interests, and I feel everyone else should have the same privilege. I know it's not particularly realistic (or effective, since the government would just print more money to compensate anyway), but it would go a long way toward making those of us who work for a living feel a lot less repressed by the new socialist regime.

Either that, or get rid a taxes all-together: it's not like the deficit would be that much bigger, and since the Obamanation is flushing the country anyway, we might as well have a party while we're circling the drain. No taxation without representation!


  1. Interesting website with a lot of resources and detailed explanations.

  2. Protests against bloated, crooked government sound like “sour grapes”, even if they’re actually making legitimate criticism of the government. “Sour grapes” = you’re indignant about the fact that your party being out of power results in the government pursuing policies you disagree with. Any movement against bloated gov’t or extra-Constitutional executive power must be non-partisan to be successful. Otherwise, you get people who are intellectually opposed to the president scaring people with crisis drama secretly approving of it because, if it’s going to happen, they want their party to do a good job at it so it’s hard for the next guy to undo.

    Someone has to broker the deal saying “we agree not to let the gov’t go overboard in the name of helping people and you agree not to let the gov’t go overboard in the name of punishing people.” I don’t know who that someone is. It would have to be a very powerful bipartisan movement.

  3. Totally agree: it would take a bipartisan (or really, a non-partisan) agreement to really be effective, and probably some sort of watchdog agency to ensure that the government doesn't exceed its Constitutional authority. Unfortunately, it would probably take an amendment to establish such a system, and with politicians (from both major parties) solidly in charge of the country and with a strong interest in maintaining the status quo, I don't think it'll be happening any time soon. But I can still rant about it, at least, while it's still a marginally free country. ;)