Enter a city or US Zip  
Washington DC's Weather

VOL 3. NO. 17 Friday, April 26 - Thursday, May 10, 2001
SIGN UP NOW! FREE Metro Connection email newsletter.

THE BLACK STATE & the Statehood Pipe Dream
Federal taxation of the District with negligent and almost criminal lack of representation, is as linked to George W. Bush's salivation for a tax cut, as it is central to the call for Statehood.

This is why the outspoken, but non-voting Congressional Delegate is suddenly finding open white ears on both sides of the political aisle. Democratic colleagues want political ammunition (translated: black votes) to throw at conservative ideologues boasting electoral gains while Republicans, especially moderates, figure this is a safe and subtle backdoor to boost outreach efforts.

The unwritten, but plausible common ground for both is this: the Northern VA, Montgomery County, NW elite, including spreading city yuppies, will be damned before they see a predominantly black state. Recent Census numbers give a re-assuring portrait of an ethnic shift favoring little likelihood of that. That would give less chance of a re-apportionment nightmare for the Capitol of the Western World. Think of an At-Large addition to the Congressional Black Caucus and two Black Senate seats - can you say Sen. Marion Barry?

Barry single-handedly dropped that pipe dream. So now, we're stuck on tax cuts - who doesn't want a tax cut? You take a look at each week, every bi-week and sometimes once a month and go: "man - either it's time to add more exemptions and pay Uncle Sam's piper on tax day or maybe I should raise another dependant." Our newly selected - ... (dope!) I, of course, mean newly elected, grammar-deficient Quarterback in the White House wants to lower the Federal tax. Bump that, Mr. President. The payroll tax and FICA is what it's about. Without the slightest liberal slant or incantation in these notes, one discovers this is where the modern conservative principle and policy is somewhat flim flammy. Common democratic sense would take another look at which tax is really the most fundamentally whacked. But, that's too people-oriented ...

As unfair and as burdensome as taxes are, one must kindly remind themselves of what those paycheck-devouring critters are supposed to provide: working, sustainable public services; continuous trash pick-up; regularly shoveled snow when the white flakes fall; protecting, serving, non-brutal and relatively educated community police smart enough to know that company or organizational emails are not - we repeat - NOT private domain; and, perhaps, a Mayoral mansion for Anthony Williams' Upper North-crust aspirations. Hey, leave the brotha alone if he wants to pick his morning paper from cleaner, swept streets. I would, too ... man, the playa hating is thick: then get your own spacious Foxhall Rd palace. However, we're told not a District dime is expected to go into the wealthy philanthropist offer. Now, upkeep - that's a whole separate issue when it's built.

But, most District residents, as overtaxed as they are - and especially those living in certain undesirable, yet cheap property in targeted locations throughout - don't even get that much. Their plight is steadily saddening.

Back to my beef with the proposed, now $1.2 trillion tax cut legislation awaiting hammer and anvil in the U.S. House of Representatives. It's not so much the idea or theory of revolutionary tax cutting as it is the reality of what in the Federal budget gets cut and who experiences it. In fact, I'd be inclined to support it if the rebates were much larger ($300 - $1300 returns for a working to middle class family living from paycheck to paycheck), the cuts not so severe and if the District of Columbia were considered as a significant portion of the equation.

Let me admit that I'm a once Philly-raised, now nine year D.C. Metro outsider looking in. Maybe it's not my place to comment - yet, your city's arrangement confounds me, as much as the twisted, downtown circles and the infamous, tire-busting potholes. The residents are as brutally taxed as the rebellious Founding Fathers who threw the British monarchs out over 200 years before. Even conservative commentators, such as the National Review's Jonah Goldberg are hip to a federal tax cut for D.C. residents. Says Godlberg in The Washington Times: "But, why not take the idea seriously? Conservatives have a lot more invested than liberals in the idea that high taxes are the root of, if not all evil, then a whole lot of evils."

Hence, D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton's alliance with fantasy VP, 2004 Presidential aspirant-extraordinaire and Democratic Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman is the smarter, strategic path to take - at the risk of losing your black state. That was also the catch to Goldberg's point: "The African-American base of the Democratic Party is gung-ho on the issue, largely because it would almost surely result in two black, hard-core Democratic Senators ... Meanwhile, conservatives oppose D.C. statehood for two reasons. One faction emphasizes the partisan Republican considerations; they don't want two permanent hyper-liberal senators."

Sorry about that - but, it beats those impractical cries for Statehood (albeit well intentioned) in a small metropolis where no building can be as tall as Washington's phallic, a city where there is no agricultural base and an industrial center reliant upon it's two suburban sprawling neighbors.

However, some color in the Senate wouldn't be such a bad idea.

C.D. Ellison is a contributing writer to Metro Connection. Please feel free to contact him by email - againstthegrain@metroconnection.info - or phone: 202.777.2643 x7915

Welcome Calendar Connection What's Up?/Story Ideas/Events Classified Ads Best Black Web Sites Business Services Including our Ujamaa Black Business Directory Our Print Edition Our Advertising Media Kit Contact Us/Feedback Form