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My correspondence with a local politician

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Spideynw Posted: Fri, Jul 17 2009 12:26 PM

The cry of the revolutionaries of this country was, "no taxation without representation".  Well, I did not vote for any of those on the city council nor the mayor, and as such I do not have representation, yet I still have to pay taxes or be put in jail.  I would consider this theft.  Don't you?

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Thanks for your recent comments to the city council. I'm not sure to what taxation you are referencing. I assure you that the mayor and members of the city council were fairly elected. As this is a municipal election year, I hope that you will take the opportunity to vote for a representative who you think fairly represents your values. 

Please let me know if you have specific questions or concerns.
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Thank you very much for your response.  I am referring to all taxes that I have to pay, that are levied by the city government. 

Being "fairly elected" is irrelevant.  You only "represent" those that voted for you.  Anyone else that voted for someone else or did not vote for you is not represented in the city council and is therefore being taxed without representation.

To break it down, it is just like being in a neighborhood with three people in it.  One day, two of the neighbors, I will refer to them as neighbor A and neighbor B, decide that they want something, but that they do not want to have to pay for all of it.  So, they decide to hold "elections" to see who gets to take money from neighbor C to help pay for their pet project.  They flip a coin, and decide that Neighbor A will vote for Neighbor B.  They also allow the other neighbor, Neighbor C, the option to vote as well.  However, they do not give neighbor C the option to not vote at all and not pay for their pet project.  Neighbor A votes for neighbor B and neighbor B votes for neighbor B.  Neighbor C votes for, well, his or her self.  Well, now neighbors A and B go to C and demand money or threaten to throw C in neighbor B's basement.  How in the world is there any justice in this?  C obviously was not represented.  Because if C were really represented, neighbor C would have told them to get a life.  This is obviously extortion, nothing more nothing less.  Pay up or suffer the consequences.

I am sure if I came to you and told you to pay or be locked in my basement, that you would find it unfair, regardless of whether or not I gave you a chance to vote for me.

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Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I have a couple of thoughts in response. 

The first is that taxation is both constitutional and necessary to provide for certain functions that are required by of government by the constitution, such as protecting the welfare, safety, security, transportation and commerce, etc. The notion of "taxation without representation" refers to the British government's taxation of the American colonies before the Revolutionary War when they had no representatives at all, either elected or appointed, serving in the House of Commons in the British Parliament. "Representation" does not refer to whether you voted for someone or not, but whether you have a voice at all in electing representatives. The fact that you have a "vote" means that you are "represented" even though you may not have voted for the person who is ultimately elected. While it's true that you may not have voted for the person who represents you, and may not agree with their decisions, etc., the constitution defines "representation" as having the protected right to vote at the age of eligibility, which is currently 18 years (I know a lot of younger teenagers who would like that right, too). 

As for whether you like the decisions made by those who are elected, you have the option to either a) vote them out of office at the next election or b) run for office yourself, in which case you would be representing everyone, whether they voted for you or not. I think it's a responsibility most elected officials take very seriously. 

As for your concern with the City Council, I have noted by your address that you do not live in this Salt Lake city (even though your postal address may say Salt Lake City, the city boundary ends at 2100 South, and you are much further south than that), so I assure you that you are not paying any taxes to Salt Lake City, unless you shop in Salt Lake City and then a small portion of the sales tax will go to the city (more goes to the County and to the State). It appears that you live in Salt Lake County, so your representatives are the Salt Lake County Council. This may be confusing, because we have several levels of local government. For people like me who live in both a city and in the county, we pay taxes to both. So in a way, you might consider yourself luckier than some like me if you don't like paying taxes. 

If you would like, I can make sure that your comments are forwarded to the County Council so that they are aware of your concerns. 

Good luck with the next election, and with electing a "representative" who shares your views on taxes.

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Thank you for clarifying that I am not in the city limits.  I was unsure of this.

I would like to clarify really quick however that I have not, nor most people I would imagine, consented to the Constitution of the United States government.  Only 12 or so people signed it.  Only those that have taken an office in politics have sworn to uphold it.  The document is no more valid for me than a document would be for you, if me and a few of my friends and neighbors decided to write a constitution and we signed it, and you did not.  Is it not interesting that the Declaration of Independence states that governments are established with consent of the governed, however there is not a government that I know of that has ever actually been established and maintained with consent of all those that are governed?

As to the cry for the war of independence of "no taxation without representation", I agree that the cry they really meant was "no taxation without being able to vote for a politician from our area", because in this country, most of us are still taxed without representation, which is really just extortion, as I have already explained. 

Again, thank you for clarifying that the only taxes I have to pay from your organization without being represented are those sales taxes in the city limits.  I have written to the county and state politicians.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Highly commendable.

"the obligation to justice is founded entirely on the interests of society, which require mutual abstinence from property" -David Hume
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Rooster replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 1:13 PM

Surprised you got a response

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Good stuff, but the ABC bit needs a flowchart.  It's too wordy and hard to follow.  Most politicians and bureaucrats are idiots.  At least supply them with paper and crayons to draw it out for themselves.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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DD5 replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 1:29 PM

 

Not bad, but the whole "without representation" is quite ineffective because it will always be interpreted as "without a right to vote for elected officials".  I don't think you really give a crap about voting. 

 I would ask them: How can representation be compulsory?  It is therefore not representation but euphemism for master or ruler.

 The process is still involuntary period!  It is slavery by the definition of the term.

 

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Spideynw replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 1:39 PM

Rooster:

Surprised you got a response

Me too.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 1:41 PM

liberty student:

Good stuff, but the ABC bit needs a flowchart.  It's too wordy and hard to follow.  Most politicians and bureaucrats are idiots.  At least supply them with paper and crayons to draw it out for themselves.

LoL

I agree it is wordy, but it is hard to explain something so basic.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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AJ replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 2:40 PM

Wow, good on you for writing, and awesome that you got a detailed and fairly intelligent response. It goes to show that these concepts are powerful in their simplicity. We live under the shadow of a cancer - monopoly - so any time you question that shadow it's somehow refreshing to people.

I really like how you compared the Founding Fathers with "me and a few of my friends and neighbors." Who were those guys anyway to purport to sign on our behalf!? They were just some guys.

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They weren't even elected representatives!!!

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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Spideynw replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 3:02 PM

liberty student:

They weren't even elected representatives!!!

Wow, that is a really good point.  I had not even thought of that before.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 3:03 PM

AJ:
Wow, good on you for writing, and awesome that you got a detailed and fairly intelligent response.

I would agree.  At the least, it did not seem like an emotional knee jerk response, especially given the fact that I am pretty much accusing the politician of committing extortion.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Fluery replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 8:08 PM

Good job, can you keep us update if he/she replies?

And welcome back liberty student :)

 

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Spideynw replied on Fri, Jul 17 2009 10:45 PM

Here is the last response:

Good luck with your quest for better representation.

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Pretty much ending the conversation.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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you should have the last word.

 

"Bad luck being a cog in the wheels of Tyranny"

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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So, a county council member responded to me, and I about fell out of my chair with the response:

"The cry of the war for independence in this country was "no taxation without
representation". Well, I have never voted for you nor for any of the State
of Utah politicians, and as such, I do not have any representation. Yet, I
still have to pay taxes or be put in jail. I would consider that extortion.
Don't you?

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Interesting. What type of representation would you like?  Maybe we can help work it out."

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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he's trying to get you to agree to pay a tax in order to gain representation. stay on your guard.

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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Spidey, you should check out the No State Project.  It's really given me a lot of food for thought.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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jdcoffey replied on Wed, Aug 5 2009 12:43 PM

Good on you, Spideynw.  The only thing I ever get from my local officials are canned responses that have little to do with what I wrote them.

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Spideynw replied on Wed, Aug 5 2009 12:45 PM

Will do.  Isn't that Marc's website?  If so, I just ran across it yesterday.  But I did not really look at it.  I will google it and check it out.  Thanks for the heads up!

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Spideynw replied on Wed, Aug 5 2009 12:53 PM

jdcoffey:

Good on you, Spideynw.  The only thing I ever get from my local officials are canned responses that have little to do with what I wrote them.

That is what I had expected as well.

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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Spideynw:
Isn't that Marc's website?

Yeah.  Watch his talk from FSP 2009 or 2008 hosted at Homeland Stupidity (although I think it is also on YouTube)

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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liberty student:
Yeah.  Watch his talk from FSP 2009 or 2008 hosted at Homeland Stupidity (although I think it is also on YouTube)

Is this the one you are talking about?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_cHslsPDzQ

At most, I think only 5% of the adult population would need to stop cooperating to have real change.

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i love adventures in legaland

Where there is no property there is no justice; a proposition as certain as any demonstration in Euclid

Fools! not to see that what they madly desire would be a calamity to them as no hands but their own could bring

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Spideynw:

Is this the one you are talking about?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_cHslsPDzQ

Yup.  Prepare to become an even crazier libertarian.

"When you're young you worry about people stealing your ideas, when you're old you worry that they won't." - David Friedman
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