Somehow, I missed this one when it became law six months ago, but DC is unveiling an electronic sign at the Wilson Building today at 9:15 AM -- literally as I write this! This sign will continuously inform anyone within a half-mile of the front of the Wilson Building of the number of dollars DC residents have paid the Federal government in taxes. I can't help but wonder if the Federal tax payment back to DC has been deducted from this total. Given the fact that it feels like a typical morning in St. Petersburg right now, I am guessing at least 2 people showed up for this media event.
Before you go off all half-cocked thinking I'm some kind of anti-DC-statehood hater or something like that, I am not. I think it's a travesty that we should pay taxes like everyone else and get pushed around like a red-haired stepchild because we so badly need that $660 million bucks that they give us back every year. And what did we do with that cash last year? Oh yeah we built a baseball stadium that nobody goes to.
No, quite the opposite, I fully support the idea that DC residents should have the same status as residents of every other state or commonwealth or territory in the United States. That is, pay taxes, get representation. Or in the case of Guam and Puerto Rico, don't pay taxes, don't get representation. No, we pay taxes and get shat on routinely for it.
So what is my problem with this sign? It's the same problem I have with the stupid licence plates that say TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.
The message means absolutley nothing to someone who does not live in DC.
You know what I think of when I hear "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION?" I think of Schoolhouse Rock and how cool it is that we told that stupid King George to bugger off and then rowed over here in a few strokes, killed a bunch of Native Americans, and started our own much more obtuse system of screwing over poor people. THERE'S NO MORE KINGS! We're gonna elect a President!!
So, I would imagine the average person who has no idea that DC does not, in fact, have congressional representation, probably isn't getting the message.
Well, the sign is even worse. As near as I can tell, from the picture above, the sign simply says: "DC RESIDENTS FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS PAID." Now, if I was your average visitor to DC who didn't know nuthin' about our horrible plight of half-citizens, what would my reaction to this be? Probably along the lines of this:
That's a cool sign. I wonder if that's more or less than residents of the state of Buttf*ckiana paid this year? Do we have one of those in our capital city? I'm hungry, where's the nearest McDonalds?
There is no mention that we don't get representation! I don't think anyone in the country believes that DC residents don't pay taxes. I'm pretty sure that everyone in the country thinks everyone pays taxes, except possibly illegal immigrants (who probably mostly do pay taxes) and people in Texas.
I hope there's more to this sign than the picture shows. Otherwise, it's nothing more than something for the senators who have our ass in a sling every year when it's allowance time to laugh at.