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The Liberal Assault on Our Federal Republic

Part VIII: "Statehood for the District of Columbia"

Michael A. Wallace

mwallace@americasvoices.org      
biography
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April 1, 2002

Section 2: Pro-Statehood Arguments versus Anti-Statehood Arguments

Introduction
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Summary



Part VIII: "Statehood for the District of Columbia"

If conservatives oppose DC statehood just because they think DC residents will vote "Democrat" – that's the wrong reason to oppose, and immoral.6  Keeping liberals from voting in DC also suppresses the conservative and independent vote.  If you believe in fundamental principles of our Republic and hold this position, you are on most infirm ground.

If liberals propose DC statehood just because they see the gains of additional Democratic representatives in Congress, they sustain opposition to a resolution of this issue.  Likewise, if liberals propose DC statehood and characterize it as a racial issue, as Jesse Jackson and others have done, they display insincerity of principle.7, 8, 9

There is a lot of trash on the Internet concerning the subject – on both sides of the issue.  Misinformation, emotion, partisan agenda, distortion of fact – all keep us arguing and prevent us from finding common ground for agreement.

Here are some snippets of pro-statehood propaganda.10

"Residents of the District of Columbia pay $1.6 billion in Federal income taxes:  more in Federal taxes than eight other states, and more per capita than 80 percent of the states."

"Taxation without Representation is a $41 billion rip-off of District citizens."

"The citizens of the District of Columbia seek no more than citizens in any other state:  the right of self-determination, and full and equal voting representation in Congress."

These arguments aren't an accurate picture of the facts.  They imply residents of the District pay taxes and get nothing for it.  The National Taxpayer Union provides a stark counter-argument.  Key NTU findings11:

According to the US Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States: 1999, Washington DC receives 12 times more federal tax dollars than its residents pay in taxes. ($1.936 Billion versus $24.034 Billion),…  "a more lopsided balance of payments than any of the 50 States in the Union."

"Local taxes as a share of personal income (14.85%) are the highest of any jurisdiction in the United States."

"The District ranks dead last behind all 50 states for promoting small businesses."

"Out of a total population of 523,000 people, 76,000 are on Social Security, 20,000 receive Supplemental Security income, 54,000 receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (welfare), 85,000 get Food Stamps, and 46,000 work for the city, a total of 267,000 persons.  Accepting some overlap between beneficiaries of these programs, one can safely estimate that almost half the population is dependent on government largesse."

"Local mismanagement has caused the District's population to drop from 638,000 in 1980 to 523,000 in 1998, shrinking the city's tax base and forcing it to demand higher subsidies from its own residents as well as American taxpayers."

"… the District gets far more than its fair share of Federal funds.  Residents of Washington benefit from per-person federal spending nine times higher than that received by citizens of the average state … and get back twelve times more tax money than they send the IRS."

As the NTU summarizes, "Simply put, whatever the merits of the arguments supporting Congressional representation for the city of Washington, those based on a unfair fiscal burden are absurd."

Contrast these fiscal facts with the emotional mantra about "taxation without representation", and the conclusion is DC license plates containing the phrase in protest should read, "We Arrogantly Take More Than We Give".  The issue is not really taxation without representation.

What else is wrong with the argument?  The District is not a state, and was never supposed to be a state as proponents subtly imply.  Nor was the District originally a territory, as many other States were and who went through the process for Statehood.12, 13  The District of Columbia occupies a very unique status in our country due to its origins.  It cannot be like every other State.

Finally, the phrase "full and equal voting representation" is not correct.  Surely they don't mean that the District would have the same voting power and influence of Texas?

Here are some snippets of anti-statehood propaganda.14

"A New Columbia (as supporters have dubbed the would-be-state) would violate the Constitution, create an ill-managed state and an imbalance in the chambers of Congress."

"Problems with D.C., the city, are main reasons that D.C., the state, cannot successfully exist."

"In addition, a D.C. statehood measure failed by a margin of two to one in the 1993 House, a year in which Democrats held the majority."

"The Constitutional premise of one vote per person is the most fundamental reason why the District cannot become a state and is where the argument of D.C. statehood proponents disintegrates.  D.C. residents may be disenfranchised by not having a voting voice in Congress, but granting D.C. statehood only further disenfranchises residents of large states.  Allotting two senators to represent a region with such a small population creates an unequal representation, as compared to larger states."

What's wrong with these arguments?  Plenty!  They are replete with illogic.

A State is not created without complying with constitutional procedures, therefore, its creation, if it came to pass, would not be unconstitutional.

The argument that allotting two senators creates an unequal representation is flawed when you consider that even with a 5.7% decline in population since the 1990 Census, D.C. still has a population larger than Wyoming, which has two senators.  "Size" or population of a state is irrelevant; every such political entity has two senators.  Further, the idea of an "imbalance" is woefully shortsighted, and looks only to today's situation.  There were many instances as States came into the Union where such balance was not present!

Lastly, the notion that the franchise of one person disenfranchises someone else is absolutely ludicrous.

Introduction
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Summary



Part VIII: "Statehood for the District of Columbia"

 

 

 

6. 87% of District residents who voted in the 2000 presidential election voted Democrat; approximately 13% voted Republican.

7. The Difference Between DC Democracy and DC Representation, a fact sheet from The Progressive Review, has heavy overtones of racism, calling the federal "takeover" of DC "the most extensive assault on black voting rights since post-Reconstruction".

8. Even though the comments following first appeared in 1970, they still resonate today.  Sam Smith, a vocal proponent of DC Statehood, said, "Creating the first black state would be a dramatic step towards restoring a sense of union.  So let's off the talk about home rule and representation.  Our right is entire membership in the United States of America as the 51st state.  Let us seek nothing less."  The Case For DC Statehood by Sam Smith. (Author's comment – Sam Smith is still hammering away on this issue of DC statehood – a thirty year obsession.)

9. "… The African-American base of the Democratic Party is gung-ho on the issue [of Statehood], largely because it would almost surely result in two black, hard-core Democratic Senators.  This analysis is what prompted Jesse Jackson, D.C.'s former "shadow senator", to declare, some years ago, that D.C. statehood was "the most important civil rights issue facing America today…"  Eliminate federal taxes for D.C. residents, by Jonah Goldberg, April 20, 2001.

10. Why Statehood? – Facts about the District

11. National Taxpayers Union Foundation, Washington, DC: Height of Injustice or Height of Hypocrisy? NTU Foundation Issue Brief #132, December 15, 2000, by Mark Schmidt.

12. The Case For DC Statehood.  One very vocal proponent of DC Statehood, Sam Smith, advocates a semantic exercise whereby the District is re-sized to incorporate just federal buildings, with the rest declared a "territory".  Then the objective is hold a constitutional convention in the "territory" to draft suitable measures of, he omits, republican government, and then apply to Congress for Statehood.  The objective of this scheme is to bypass ratification of a Constitutional Amendment for Statehood.  His scheme allows Congress to concur with Statehood by "mere majority vote."

13. From 1871-1874, the Congress created a territorial government.  It was rescinded due to, no surprise for DC residents and observers, corruption and mismanagement.

14. Pro-Con Silver Chips Online, Julia Kay says NO: D.C. statehood won't solve conflict, by Julia Kay, February 8, 2001.



Liberal Assault on Our Federal Republic Series


Copyright © Copyright © 2020, 2003, 2004 by Michael A. Wallace & America's Voices, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Michael A. Wallace is a registered Republican, a former Eagle Scout, a Lifetime Member of the National Rifle Association, a strong believer in Second Amendment rights, a retired Marine officer, and a pro-life advocate –- all things liberals seem to dislike.  In addition to his affiliation with America's Voices, Mike is a founding member of ConservaVets, a conservative veteran's organization (which has since become Rally4America).  Mike uses thorough constitutional and historical research to analyze and explain key moral and political issues of the day.  He particularly enjoys debunking the myths and lies perpetrated by the many liberal groups who claim to speak for most Americans and by those who misrepresent Constitutional principles to further their own agendas.  E-mail Mike at mwallace@americasvoices.org.

 

Mike's constitutionally-focused series, written exclusively for America's Voices, include:

 

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