THERE’S THAT PHRASE AGAIN…. With last month’s “Tea Parties” having come and gone, there’s been a noticeable decline in the number of silly conservative arguments about taxes. Rep. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.), a 2010 gubernatorial hopeful, tries to get the ball rolling again with a very creative op-ed. (via Eric Zimmermann)
Tens of thousands of Americans attended community tea parties in mid-April to express their concerns about runaway federal spending. I was privileged to speak at one of these gatherings in Norman, and I was heartened by the growing awareness Americans have of the wrong turn this administration has taken.
Some critics of the tea parties claimed that, unlike the original Boston Tea Party, we no longer have taxation without representation. Sadly, the spending going on in Washington isn’t being applied against today’s taxes. It will burden future generations with massive deficits that won’t be paid off for generations.
These taxpayers, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, haven’t been born yet. So they are not being represented today. That’s taxation without representation of the worst kind.
If I’m reading this right, Rep. Fallin believes budget deficits are bad and might someday lead to tax increases. Those potential tax increases would be imposed on people in the future, some of whom haven’t been born. Since these future people haven’t voted yet, they’re not literally represented.
So, Fallin believes hypothetical tax increases imposed on hypothetical people necessarily amounts to “taxation without representation.” Indeed, it’s the “worst kind” of “taxation without representation.”
It’s hard to know where to start with this kind of argument. If Fallin is right, any and all deficits, no matter the circumstances, are “taxation without representation,” since budget deficits might someday lead to tax increases. That would apply to FDR’s deficits during WWII, Reagan’s deficits during his Cold War defense build-up, etc.
More to the point, the revolutionary Americans of the 18th century — the ones who really had concerns about “taxation without representation” — borrowed money extensively to launch a war against the British.
If the early Americans who came up with the phrase didn’t believe hypothetical tax increases imposed on hypothetical people amounted to “taxation without representation,” then maybe far-right lawmakers like Fallin should come up with some new talking points.