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