When I moved to Cherry Hill [New Jersey] a few years ago, I was expected to pay taxes to the township, the public school system, and the fire district. … I also got to vote for members of the town council, and to vote on tax increases for the schools and fire district. Not once did anyone I voted for make it to town council.
The above quote is something I wrote as part of the “Road from Serfdom” page on this site. Yesterday our township had its election for mayor and town council. Nothing changed. I am still unrepresented by any elected official in my township, yet the tax bills keep on a-comin’. I remain a serf of my local government. God have pity on us serfs.
It’s not like the Republicans didn’t try to oust at least some of the Democrats who have held the town in their grasp the last 30 years. They tried mightily. Full court press. Would I be happier if they had succeeded? Somewhat. Yet deep inside I know that that would not have been right either. As long as the game is winner-take-all, some large number of people are unrepresented in any meaningful way.
What would be a “meaningful” way? When the people who pay the taxes, every one of them, determines what those taxes pay for. It will be meaningful when my taxes pay for things I need and desire, and nothing else, and when that is true for every serf everywhere.