The term “taxation without representation” is commonly associated with our War for Independence. It was one of many grievances the Colonists held against the King of England for the three taxes imposed upon the Colonists. Today we are also suffering from this tyrannical activity but nary can a complaint be heard – possibly because it has gone unnoticed. Unfortunately, “unnoticed” does not mean unpracticed.
Something egregious has happened in this country that has nullified the representation of certain citizens. It has manifested itself in the form of obscenely longtime legislators of both houses stealthily suppressing the influence of their freshman and junior counterparts. The problem with suppressing the influence of these new representatives is that the wishes and needs of the people they represent is also suppressed. Among the powers of Congress is the initiation of appropriations, all of which are paid for with tax dollars. Therefore, the constituents of these junior representatives are theoretically being taxed without proper representation. It is a repugnant consequence of allowing career politicians to thrive. As they amass power within Congress, the power of the newcomers in Congress is diminished and suppressed. As repugnant as this may be, it is only part of the problem.
First attempt at term limits
After Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fourth term election, the ramifications of career politicians amassing too much power became evident. In 1944 New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey spoke out in favor of limiting presidential terms to two, as had traditionally been practiced – starting with George Washington. Dewey claimed:
Four terms, or sixteen years, is the most dangerous threat to our freedom ever proposed.
Dewey was right. Congress agreed without barely any recorded discussion and the 22nd Amendment was passed by Congress in 1947 and ratified by the States in 1951.
Unfortunately, the 22nd Amendment that limited presidential terms did not limit congressional terms. Today our country is suffering the manifestations of “the most dangerous threat to our freedom every proposed,” that Dewey spoke about, but that threat has come from career politicians in both houses of Congress. Taxation without representation is one of the pitfalls of a lopsided power base in D.C., but it is not the only one. Career politicians do what career politicians must do in order to be career politicians. To keep their jobs, they need to raise huge amounts of campaign money. Additionally, they accumulate huge war chests that usually translate into unacknowledged retirement plans – another unspoken perk these elitists immorally enjoy. And the longer they are in office, the more money they amass. This translates into more of your rights being sold to the highest bidders, including but not limited to lobbyists, special interests, and PACs. It’s nothing short of the you-rub-my-back-I’ll-rub-yours mentality. Great amounts of money available for campaigning, along with name recognition and free publicity from the “lamestream” media, make it nearly impossible for any challenger to unseat a play-along-to-get-along career politician.
These supposed representatives do not limit themselves to selling their votes and your rights to the highest bidders; they also sell out to the greedy who think they are entitled to your money. They also sell out to demographic groups and unions who vote in their favor en masse. Seldom do they give a thought to what is right for you, the country, or honoring their oath to the Constitution. Their main concern becomes how to stay in office, which they do at our expense in many, many ways. The results for us are over-regulation and over-taxation – all of which has restricted our freedom, ravaged our bank accounts, and in some cases, confiscated our lands.
There are more unfortunate consequences. The longer they are in office, the more power they amass – such as becoming speaker of one of the Houses of Congress, becoming Chairs of important committees, and being able to exert undue influence on the everyday workings of the people’s house.
How to defeat taxation without representation: term limits
While the problem may be significant, there is a solution: term limits.
Recently Mark Levin’s book The Liberty Amendments created quite a stir and reignited passionate arguments about the amendment process. This was not a new argument. The Goldwater Institute, Eagle Forum, and the John Birch Society all have given many presentations and many well-founded arguments both for and against an Article V Convention of the States (COS) as presented by Levin. A COS amendment process differs from the traditional amendment process in that the amendment must be initiated by 34 state legislatures as opposed to originating in Congress – as is traditionally done. It is called an Article V COS because it is provided for in Article V of the Constitution with a simple word: “or.” This word makes it clear that there are two ways to amend the Constitution, the way it has always been done through Congress – “or on the Applications of the Legislators of two thirds of the several States (sic). The argument against a COS rests in the fear that such an action can subject us to a run-away Convention. This premise is often compared to the Constitutional Convention that overturned the Articles of Confederation. However, not only do 2/3 of the states (or 34 states) have to petition Congress to schedule the “Convention”, after that is done, 3/4 of the states (or 38 states) have to ratify the amendment. This is deliberately not an easy task and it certainly provides some insurance that the COS will not turn into a runaway convention.
I want to make my position unequivocally clear. I am not advocating for which point of view is correct since I have great respect for those who advocate against this option as I do for those who advocate for it. HOWEVER, I have a depressingly fatalistic point of view regarding the future of this country. It is my personal belief that we are so far gone that only two things can save America:
- A miracle, and
- Cleaning out the people’s house.
Since only God can perform the miracle we need, the only other thing within our power is cleaning out the people’s house. While I encourage everyone to vet campaign challengers and do all they possibly can do and more to support the “good guys”, I also realize that realistically cleaning out the house as it needs to be cleaned out will possibly not happen in time and to the extent needed – and our downward death spiral will continue.
D____d if we do and d____d if we don’t
Therefore, I seriously encourage everyone to consider an Article V COS term limits amendment, regardless of the risks involved. My rationale is simple. There may be some risk involved, but we are doomed if we don’t do something and do it quickly. So, do we take the risk or do we succumb to the status quo? In the words of Ronald Reagan, “Status quo, you know, is Latin for ‘the mess we’re in.”
As for doing something or not doing something based on fear, the Bible has something to say about that. It tells us that the fear of man is a snare – or a trap. When it comes to an Article V COS, fear may be the thing that does us in. It has immobilized us from using one of the tools our Founders provided for our citizens to be able to regain control of a runaway government.
The final question may be: what do you fear most – a runaway government or a runaway convention? Before answering, let me remind you that the runaway government is here and now and a runaway convention, given the process outlined, may never materialize. To be sure, fear can be paralyzing – even when we may have nothing to fear but fear itself. It is in our best interest to realize that we do have an opportunity – an opportunity to reclaim our country. Reclaiming our country will require diligence and unfaltering commitment in the face of much adversity; it will also require overcoming fear. As for me, I WILL DO all within my power not to make any decisions based on fear.
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