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August 16, 2005

D.C. Is Neither a State Nor A Not-State: Discuss

D.C. is not a state. Fine. Whatever. Except for two things: We have no vote in Congress and too many damned web forms do not list D.C. as a “state” where a person can live!

First, the serious issue: If you live in D.C., you don't have any real representation in Congress. This may not be well known outside of D.C., judging by the questions I've heard when people see that theD.C. license plate reads “taxation without representation.” Some say this is how it's supposed to be—people in the Capital City is not a in a state but in “neutral” territory where no one has a vote. Others say, fine, don't make us pay taxes then, if we have no say in how they're spent. But mostly I hear people saying: “Bullshit. If this is a democracy we should have real voting representation in Congress.” That's what the voices in my head say, too.

The less serious but more practically maddening issue with D.C. not being a state is that it means that sometimes you can't tell people where you live. This happens when you reach a drop-down menu on a web form asking you to choose the state where you live and D.C. is simply not on the list. This is only a serious deal when you're trying to give someone your shipping address for something you've purchased. Of course, this never happens at Amazon or whatever, but it's happened a couple of times to me recently w/other vendors, and just now w/a survey from Skype. I suspect there's some boilerplate drop-down list code floating around somewhere that lists all the 50 U.S. states but not the District or Puerto Rico or other U.S. territories.

It's true what they say around here: D.C. always gets the shaft.

Posted August 16, 2005 11:23 AM | general politics

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I don't really care either way. But politically since I'm a raging conservative, I like the fact that there are 3 less democrats in congress. Other than that I don't think it matters either way. Isn't it something close to 40% of the land is actually owned by the federal government anyways. And if they made it an actual state then it would make the whole jurisdictional questions so much less complicated and easier for lawyers to deal with and make our prices go down. I kinda like the dual jurisdictional element to the city. The taxation without representation thing sounds about right but it was just a propaganda thing back in the 1770s anyways and its all it really is now. Sales Tax could always be argued against on that basis for anyone that doesn't vote. But in the end I agree that those arguments are pretty weak. Our country has always bought into the taxation only with representation policy and it should probably hold today. So to that end people living and working in DC should not pay federal income tax. Since the Republican states don't want 3 more democrats in Congress, and Republicans like the idea of people paying less taxes, it is a happy middle ground. Just my 2 cents, unless it's being taxed in DC without a representative.

Posted by: Reckless Murder at August 16, 2005 08:18 PM

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