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I Love Taxes

By       Message Neal Herrick       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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'Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society'

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1904) This quote appears on the headquarters building of the IRS at 1111 Constitution Ave., Wash. DC


Taxes are also manifestations of both human rationality and human virtue. I agree with Holmes. I love taxes in prrinciple. But taxation without representation is a different thing entirely. I resent it and would like to see it banished from the face of the earth.

To be taxed unfairly is painful. To be taxed unfairly without being represented in the taxing body is so painful that people do not ordinarily accept it without complaint. When we are taxed unfairly without representation, we Americans have a long history of both complaining and taking action to remedy matters. Yet, despite our forefathers' willingness to "stand up and be counted,"   we present-day ordinary Amerians allow ourselves to be taxed unfairly without representation -- and without taking action to remedy matters.

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US Taxation without representationj did not end with King George III  


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Prior to our revolution, we Americans were being used by England as a convenient source of income. We were a convenient source largely because we were not represented in Parliament. Our forefathers resented this taxation without representation. They petitioned King George III for relief - but their peitions were ignored. Eventually, their patience wore thin and they rebelled. Their rebellion resulted in our 1776 Declaration of Independence. Then, after five years of hard fighting, we drove the British from our shores.


The government of the state of Massachusetts, however, had learned little from King George III's mistakes. It used the farmers of western Massachsetts as a convenient source of income. The farmers petitioned the state government for relief on the grounds that the state legislature was largely made up of wealthy businessmen.   The farmers believed they   were being taxed without representation. They petitioned the government,   but their petitions were ignored. Their patience wore thin and eventually, under the leadership of revolutionary war veteran Capt. Danial Shays, they rebelled. They were succesful in preventing some foreclosures by "ocupying" county court houses and puting them temporarily out of business. Their rebellion, however, "failed" when they occupied the Springfield Armory in early 1787 and were routed by the Massachusetts militia. While Jefferson believed Shays' Rebellion to have been consistent with the principles of the Revolution, many of his colleagues disagreed.   Shays was pardoned, but two of the rebeling farmers were hanged. [1]


Taxation without representation -- then and now


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Shays' Rebellion illustrates one of the most virulent form of taxation without representation. People of moderate means (the farmers of western Massachusetts) were being taxed by a legislature made up of people of wealth and high incomes. Americans of moderate means today are in the same boat. We are being unfairly taxed by a legislature (Congress) made up of people of wealth and high incomes. The result, of course, is heavy taxation for us and light   taxation for Americans of wealth and high incomes.


The causes of our representational discrimination

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Neal Herrick is author of the award-wining After Patrick Henry (2009). His most recent book is (2014) Reversing America’s Decline. He is a former sailor, soldier, auto worker, railroad worker, assistant college football coach, (more...)

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