• Arne Mortensen

Taxation without Representation

October 2013

How does Patrick Henry’s rallying cry, “No taxation without representation,” fit today? Back then King George was the taxing tyrant; today the tyrant is diffuse between federal, local, and state governments and their complicit bureaucracies that demand licenses and fees to feed their own kind. Tyranny at the hand of many is no less a tyranny, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson.

Undeniably, we do not have representation in the bureaucracy because bureaucrats are unelected. For example, think of our own County building planning department.

Do we have representation in the elected legislatures? The answer is not really. For whatever reason in a typical election only 50% of the electorate votes. Then the winning legislator typically garners no more than 50% of the vote. And in the legislature, let’s assume a “tax/fee” gets approved by 66%. Just do the math: 50% x 50% x 60% = 15%. So, our taxes (and other laws/rules), at best, typically are determined by 15% (often less) of the people. According to a 2010 figure (, Federal, State, and local governments employ 17% of the work force. Is it any wonder that government just grows! Obamacare may be the poster child example of this sad reality. How about the car tabs in Washington State? For additional perspective look at

If Patrick Henry was right to fight tyranny, then we are wrong for putting up with it.

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