Times have changed
And we've often rewound the clock
Since the Puritans got a shock
When they landed on Plymouth Rock.
Any shock they should try to stem
'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
Plymouth Rock would land on them.
Cole Porter, “Anything Goes” 1934
Approximately a century-and-a-half after the landing of the Puritans in what today is the state of Massachusetts, colonists angry at the actions of the distant British Parliament rebelled against the mother country—one of the most famous cries against their perceived political injustices being, “No Taxation Without Representation!”
“If today . . .”
Times have indeed changed. We have today in this country a major effort to disenfranchise millions of citizens. Those threatened with denial of access to the ballot are mostly minorities, the poor, and the elderly (of course, there’s a great overlap here).
Other than a progressive income tax, most taxes fall disproportionately harder on the poorer members of our society. Consider the sales tax (we’ll take the 7 percent sales tax of my state of New Jersey as an example). Let’s assume that three citizens of the Garden State (one earning $20,000 a year, another $200,000, and the third $2,000,000) each purchase a total of $1,000 worth of taxable goods (whether in a single purchase or multiple purchases doesn’t matter for the sake of this argument; neither does the time frame). Each of the three would pay the same amount in sales tax: $70. But that $70 would represent the following percentages of each person’s income:
For the $20,000 a year person—.0035 percent
For the $200,000 a year person—.00035 percent
For the $2,000,000 a year person—.000035 percent.
Thus, while each is taxed the same amount of money, the poorest person is shelling out a greater percentage of his income. And who could doubt that the $70 out of the pocket of the poorest person would be the subtraction most greatly felt?
Some might argue, however, that the richer two persons would spend more money and thus pay more in sales tax. OK, let’s look at the question from that angle:
That $70 the poorest person paid in tax is .0035 percent of his income. He would be left with $18,930 (after subtracting the $1,000 spent and the tax).
For the $200,000 earner to pay .0035 percent of his income in sales tax, he would have to spend $10,000. BUT he would still have $189,300 left (after subtracting the $10,000 spent and tax of $700).
For the $2,000,000 earner to pay .0035 percent of his income in sales tax, he would have to spend $100,000. Now, $1,893,000 left to pay one’s golfing green fees (after spending $100,000 and paying tax of $7,000) isn’t too shabby. Even with tipping the caddy well, one isn’t likely to go hungry.
Let’s sum this up:
The poorest are hit the hardest by regressive taxes and at the same time they are under threat of being pushed off the election rolls.* In other words:
Taxation Without Representation!
But we’re not finished yet. There’s been a concerted effort by the Republicans, in their attempt to gut Obamacare, to cut the taxes of the rich**. And that’s before Trump’s new tax plan:
"Rich could get nearly $2 trillion tax cut under Trump's tax loophole."***
And so, a final summing up (talk about tautologies!):
The richest get relieved of their tax burden while commanding the ballot boxes through massive PAC donations and the disenfranchising of those with the least political and financial clout. In other words:
Representation Without Taxation!
Plymouth Rock has landed on us!
*Don’t take my word for it; Google something like “Restricting voting,” and see what comes up.
**Again don’t take my word for it; Google something like “Cutting payments by rich into Obamacare.”