While I applaud Rep. Allen West (R-FL) for taking a keen interest in the politics of the District of Columbia, his plans to address representation for the District through a taxation exclusionary zone in the District seem at odds with what the citizens of the District want (voting rights), at odds with how to accomplish what they want (through the will of those who live here), and at odds with his Tea Party backing (Really? You want to get increase the deficit by $20B+?).
I’m sure that this is just a trial balloon on West’s part, putting up a possible solution to a crisis without thinking it all the way through. While this would make DC an attractive area for the wealthy (what, “Real” Housewives didn’t do that already?), wouldn’t the influx of shelter-seeking Americans drive out those who already live here through higher rents (born by market demand) and further harm the area?
Removing federal income taxes from residents of the District serves only to make us into permanent second-class citizens, exempted from federal taxation at the price of being exempted from our own governance. This would give Congress carte blanche to further control the District, citing no legitimate grounds for complaint when we are ruled sheerly by their illegitimate fiat.
What the District is owed is a say in our self-determination, not the paternalistic protectionism of a father over a young daughter. The citizens of this District are, and of a right ought to be, free and independent from the control of Congress that they did not elect. I recognize that the Founders’ wishes in this matter were to have the District be separate from the states on certain matters (most notably the subject of the National Guard, the use of which against Congress becomes particularly problematic in American History) and I recognize that this will likely require some sort of hybrid methodology between statehood and constitutional amendment, but to come at this with a lazy solution like the proposed is to serve only to treat the symptom (taxation) without treating the disease (lack of representation), and the Congressman would do well to remember that he is to serve his constituents, and not intrude on the lives of the residents of the District of Columbia.
Give us what we’re paying for, give us what we’ve been paying for lo these many years. Anything less is unacceptable.