Teens: Victims of Taxation Without Representation

Vaughn, Staff Writer

Modern issues mirroring old conflicts

“No taxation without representation” – James Otis, American Revolutionary.

A statement flaunted by the founders of this country who fought against the tyrannical king due to American colonists being heavily taxed without any form of political representation (voting). In America, we are still taxed, however, we have a God-given right to vote handed to us by our founders. But there is still “Taxation without representation” in the United States today.

Many are completely unaware that there are a huge portion of Americans being unfairly misrepresented and having their constitutional rights trampled.

The legal federal voting age is eighteen years old, and anyone under that age cannot and does not have the right to vote until they are a legal adult.

But teenage workers are forced to pay taxes even though they do not have the right to vote.

Most Americans as teenagers, now and years ago, knew they had to take a portion of their hard-earned money and give it to the federal government. But most believed it was the “price to pay to live in a free and just society.”

The United States Capitol Building

In 1971, a similar case about the problem of voting was debated. Eighteen-year-olds out of high school were able to die in Vietnam without having any influence over the people in congress that are sending them away. Anti-war protests were at an all-time high and in less than 3 months, the twenty-sixth amendment was passed. Lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.

Today; like in 1971, congress can perform unconstitutional activities (taxation without representation) without teenagers having the ability to vote them out.

Yes, paying taxes, even though people hate paying them, are needed to fund projects around the country such as infrastructure, utilities, along with maintaining our liberties and justice for all.

However, how could we teenagers, the people that will be passed the torch to govern this country, be betrayed by our own hypocritical mothers and fathers in the congress and senate?

11th grader, Jake Boike, has this to say when asked about the issue. “It is hypocritical of the government to tax us without representation even though the founding fathers say it is unconstitutional… Legislators and even the president, constantly quote the founding fathers on issues they want to pass, however, they avoid it when it is necessary and needed for the betterment of the American people. This is extremely evident especially with the issue of taxation without representation.”

Another student from QHS, 10th grader Olivia Hetzel, said this. “Because Teenagers are only making close to minimum wage, we would not have enough money to pay taxes, along with not having voting rights, it is not fair to Teens.”

One might say “just get rid of taxation for teenagers and the solution is found” however, I disagree with this statement. If teenagers can hold a steady job, along with balancing school. Voting should be a responsibility given to them.

The law states that 18-year-olds are old and mature enough to vote, however, there are still millions of incompetent people over the age of eighteen who do not make rational decisions. Why should people younger than eighteen, that can be mature and smart about decision making, be excluded from participating in government?
One would also argue that there are plenty of incompetent teens that might not make rational decisions, should they also receive a say in government?

Yes, whether they make good decisions in life, everyone deserves to have a voice especially if they are required to pay taxes.

Voting is a very serious matter, and most teens, whether they make good decisions outside the voting booth, would take the time to seriously consider a worthy candidate to office-based upon their beliefs.

If a law was passed not allowing citizens over the age of 75 to vote, but still forcing them to pay taxes, there would be complete outrage throughout the country. Not only would it be completely unconstitutional, but it would also cause a massive chunk of the voting population to be lost.

Not many teenagers have had the thought of voting younger than eighteen, and people who do bring up this topic are immediately shut down with the broad and ignorant statement saying teenagers are “too young to vote”. But at the same time say “all Americans must pay taxes no matter the age.”

Perhaps we Americans, both young and old, should take this issue more seriously and stand up for what is right so we are all equal and free.