Taxation Without Representation or the Tea Party Reborn

Written by Oil, Gas, and Mining on . Posted in Editorial

The Sons of Liberty dressed as Native Americans dump tea into Boston Harbor
The Sons of Liberty dressed as Native Americans dump tea into Boston Harbor.

It was not a mob that destroyed the tea, but sober citizens. It was not a mob that were spectators of the scene, but a well-behaved audience looking upon a serious and most significant pantomime. It was the work of patriotic men, encouraged by patriotic citizens, who were determined not to be trifled with any longer……………
- From the Boston Historical Society

It is quite fashionable for the media to brand the modern day American Tea Party as made up of ignorant rednecks who are too parochial in their views to be taken seriously—and then the characterizations of tea party members gets really nasty. But who were the founding tea party members? None other than Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and John Adams, second president of the United States; each of whom played pivotal roles in the founding of the American nation along constitutional and democratic principles. These individuals belonged to The Sons of Liberty whose motto was “no taxation without representation,” and they motivated the public against the abuses of the British government. The most significant action taken by The Sons of Liberty was to turn Boston Harbor into a “vast teapot” by dumping 92,000 pounds of tea in defiance of the Tea Act of May 10, 1773.

Fast forward to today and we have a Tea Party that decries a national debt of 17 trillion that promises to affect the freedom of generations of Americans. And the feeling of “taxation without representation” remains as alive today as it did more than three hundred years ago.

A modern day tea party rally against government spending and taxation.
A modern day tea party rally against government spending and taxation.

Obamacare, for instance, contains at least twenty new taxes to raise more than 500 billion dollars of revenue for the federal program over the next ten years. It is significant to note that no Republican voted for Obamacare and nearly 50% of the national vote did not go to the Democratic Party in the last election. The end result: A significant number of Americans do not feel represented by government in what laws are passed and how they are taxed. And how much do Americans really pay in taxes? Let’s try about 50%, a much higher rate than many realize. Doubtful? Then let’s count the ways: federal, state, and local income taxes that are relatively obvious, but what about property taxes, social security and medicare taxes, sales tax, fuel and gas taxes, the myriad of taxes on utilities, phone, tolls, dog licenses, fishing and hunting licenses, airplane tickets, meals, lodging, special taxes on businesses, a complex web of taxes on owning cars, boats, and on and on. Many of these taxes are hidden but the devastating effect on your paycheck is not. The colonists were pretty upset about their taxes. What would they think about ours?

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