Friday, August 16, 2002

Glenn Reynolds posts part of a letter from an INSTAPUNDIT reader arguing against D.C. statehood. The reader writes, "I am absolutely opposed to statehood. The Framers of the Constitution were aware of what happened to London during the Gordon riots of 1780 and didn't want the federal government to be intimidated by mobs uncontrolled by local government. It's sort of like they anticipated Marion Barry." I don't believe the lack of D.C. statehood is about intimidation from mobs.

I think it's based on a very simple principle that the government should not have a vote. From the time D.C. was created to today, the residents who live there and the economy in general are dependent upon on the federal government. These people either work directly for the government, for private entities involved in government, or private organizations whose livelihood is dependent upon the government economy. These people would benefit from the expansion of the federal government, and would therefore continually vote to expand government. U.S. senators and representatives from D.C. would be advocates for the government. This is dangerous to liberty, and should be rejected at all costs.

This argument could also be used against government workers in general. Public-school teachers, police, social workers, soldiers, and government workers at any level have an incentive to increase the size of government. Their unions make them even more dangerous. U.S. elected officials have recently spoken out against tax and government cuts, because hard-working, middle-class, government workers would lose their jobs. Once the majority of Americans are dependent upon the government for their livelihood, either in the form entitlements or jobs, liberty is in extreme danger. This situation may actually exist today, but I'm not certain and will have to check.

"No taxation without representation" has become a rallying cry for proponents of D.C. statehood. Ben Domenech has a solution to the issue of D.C. taxation without representation (link via INSTAPUNDIT). Ben WRITES that we should get rid of the taxation part. The District of Columbia would experience a huge economic boom from businesses looking to relocate in this tax haven, and the calls for statehood would go away.

My solution is quite different. I would get rid of the U.S. citizens living in D.C. Expand and build new universities. Most students can claim residency at their parents' home and vote there. Rip down housing to build more privately-funded memorials, monuments, and museums. Let foreign nations build bigger and better embassies. Stuff every federal government entity (except military) and every international agency with an American presence into D.C. The demand for land to construct new office buildings will be enormous and could be privately funded or funded by selling off government buildings in other cities. Throw in some shopping malls and a new sports stadium and there isn't any land left over for residents. The only people living in D.C. will be the president, some federal government officials, foreign embassy staffs, and students. Not only would there be no need for D.C. statehood, this plan would also lead to the repeal of the 23rd Amendment, which gave D.C. the right to vote for presidents.