On The Picket Line:

How I live up to my values
by resisting federal taxes

Like most Amer­i­cans, I sup­ported the gov­ern­ment and its wars — I can look at an old W2 form to see just how much. I didn’t want to, but my op­po­si­tion was only an opin­ion while my sup­port was in dol­lars and cents.

Finally I decided that re­fus­ing moral sup­port isn’t enough. I have to put my money where my mouth is.

When the U.S. in­va­ded Iraq in , I stopped pay­ing fed­eral in­come tax and started work­ing for my val­ues instead of against them. I quit my job and de­lib­er­ately re­duced my in­come to the point where I no longer owe any fed­eral in­come tax. I trans­formed my life, con­cen­trat­ing on what really mat­ters, so that I can live well and se­curely on a lower in­come. (As it turns out, my lower-in­come life­style turned out to be more fun, ful­fill­ing, and in­ter­est­ing than the one I had before.)

I take a prac­ti­cal ap­proach, learn­ing about the tax laws and about how to live well by be­ing down-to-earth and sen­si­bly fru­gal. I’m learn­ing how to live within my means with­out pay­ing fed­eral in­come tax — hon­estly, peace­fully, and le­gally — and how to avoid pay­ing other tax­es as well.

I think we have to earn a coun­try that we can be proud of — with hard work and prac­ti­cal changes, and not with com­plaints or wish­ful think­ing or voting. We have to start by put­ting all of our ef­fort on the side of our val­ues, in­stead of al­low­ing so much of our ef­fort to be stolen by the tax col­lector and used in ways that shame us.

On this blog, I write about this ex­per­i­ment in liv­ing my be­liefs — why I chose this path and what I’m learn­ing along the way.

— David Gross