Politicians seem to have forgotten US history
Wasn’t our revolutionary war precipitated by excessive taxes? It’s a history lesson our politicians seem to have forgotten.
After the French and Indian War, 1754 to 1763 and fought mostly in America, the British levied excessive taxes on the colonies to refill the British coffers and enforced the collection of those taxes through both the threat and use of violence.
In 1765 this began with the enactment of the Stamp Act. An official stamp was required on all legal documents; without the stamp, the document would be void. This was a tax levied only in the colonies. It was repealed the following year after violent protests in the colonies.
The Stamp Act was followed in 1767 and 1768 with the Townshend Acts, a series of laws to collect taxes — and provisions for the enforcement to collect taxes. Imported items from Britain necessary for the operation of the colonies — such as glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea — were all taxed, and the British military was ordered in to enforce these taxes. The colonists were also required to quarter these troops in their homes. Colonial opposition to these laws resulted in skirmishes with British troops and vandalism, culminating in The Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770; British troops fired into a crowd of unruly protesters in front of the State House. Ironically, that same day parliament began repeal proceedings for most of these laws because of the violent response from the colonists.
Taxes on tea remained.
In 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act essentially granting an import monopoly to the British East India Company and intended both to disrupt the market in smuggled tea (which accounted for more than 80 percent of tea consumed in the colonies) and to force colonists to purchase tea upon which British taxes were levied. The colonists responded with the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773, dumping more than 340 crates of British East India tea into Boston harbor.
This resulted in the Intolerable Acts of 1774; a series of laws closing the port of Boston until the tea was paid for, dissolving the Massachusetts Colonial Charter, transporting offenders to Britain for trial rather than the colonies and the quartering of troops in all the colonies.
Colonists reacted with further resistance, and in April 1775 the British marched to Concord to confiscate colonial arms. They were met at the Old North Bridge by a group of colonists and the armed confrontation launched the Revolutionary War.
History documents the escalating levels of civil intolerance caused by the continued efforts of the government to collect more and more taxes from the people. This lesson seems to be ignored by our current politicians as they tend to rewrite history and divert blame to meet their own political agenda.
Mayor Don Sedgwick of Laguna Hills, Calif., told Fox News that politicians’ policies are creating intolerable living expenses there, resulting in a mass exodus of people from so called “Blue States.”
Mayor Steve Fulop of Jersey City, N.J., has threatened to implement a “commuter tax” on New York City residents in retaliation for New York’s “congestion pricing.” This is a harbinger of things to come with governments’ attempts to snatch some of the taxes from each other.
Wired outlined how HOV lanes in Virginia opened to single drivers, but charged a variable toll — as high as $40 — determined by demand… and suggested congestion taxes should be installed on all roads to collect more funds and even regulate where we live.
Bloomberg News has reported the declining populations in liberal cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
New York and New Jersey had the “highest resident exodus” in 2019 — and the greatest outflow is among people in the highest income brackets.
But the tax burden isn’t just a local one.
According to the U.S. Debt Clock, the national debt exceeds $23 trillion — at over $70,000 per citizen — while federal tax revenue stands at just $3.5 trillion, or $10,600 per citizen. Without massive taxes on the everyday citizen, this debt will continue to grow.
The people leaving high-cost, highly-taxed states are the same people who voted for the politicians who instituted the high-tax policies and irresponsibly spent the funds. Are the people among this “exodus” bringing those same voting tendencies with them as they move to states with a lower cost of living?
How long will it be before these low-cost states begin passing taxes mirroring the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, the Tea Tax and the Intolerable Acts to collect more and more of our earnings?
How long before these taxes have similar results — with a revolution against a government that thinks it is a government “of the politician, by the politician and for the politician” to restore a government “of the people, by the people and for the people?”
John M. DeMaggio is a retired Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General. He is also a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy, where he served in Naval Intelligence. The above is the opinion of the author and is not meant to reflect the opinion of the U.S. Navy or the U.S. Government.