The recession is starving the government of tax revenue, just as the
president and Congress are piling a major expansion of health care and other
programs on the nation’s plate and struggling to find money to pay the tab.
The numbers could hardly be more stark: Tax receipts are on pace to drop 18
percent this year, the biggest single-year decline since the Great
Depression, while the federal deficit balloons to a record $1.8 trillion.
Other figures in an Associated Press analysis underscore the recession’s
impact: Individual income tax receipts are down 22 percent from a year ago.
Corporate income taxes are down 57 percent. Social Security tax receipts
could drop for only the second time since ,
and Medicare taxes are on pace to drop for only the third time ever.
Meanwhile, the recession is taking a toll on fuel and industry excise taxes
that pay for highway, mass transit and airport projects. Fuel taxes that
support road construction and mass transit projects are on pace to fall for
the second straight year. Receipts from taxes on jet fuel and airline
tickets are also dropping, meaning Congress will have to borrow more money
to fund airport projects and the Federal Aviation Administration.
And why not? Currently the government is trying to dictate gay personal
rights while using our tax dollars, so one good turn deserves another. A
well-orchestrated conscientious objection could effectively cut off all
edicts at the pass. Yes, planning a gay tax revolt instead of your wedding
could probably called sedition — not something to take lightly. In the 1990s
I didn’t mind risking arrest for protesting homophobia with ACT UP, Queer Nation
and the Pink Panthers, but the threat of tax penalties is enough to give
anyone pause. Nevertheless, in a pink twist on the so-called Porth/Daly tax
return [a tax protester strategy of filing a return but leaving most of it
blank], if every gay
U.S. citizen and
their supporters courageously said no to taxation without equal
representation, extraordinary changes could occur.
Being levied lately feels like an insult. Why should we pay salaries of
homophobic politicians who begrudge us rights enjoyed by every heterosexual
citizen? Why should queer money fund a military that hypocritically condemns
lesbian soldiers? Gay dollars nourish our country’s kith and kin but by
decree we have been left at the altar by our government.
“Tolerance” from conservatives? Well, how about acceptance? Call me naïve,
but is that too much to ask? Maybe it is. Yet recall the violent Stonewall
Riots in New York City in , when gays
prevailed over police harassment. Rights are rarely given — they are taken.
Today the enemy sits in Congress. Instead of blunt force, we need brave souls
to say, “I do!” to equal rights and hit Uncle Sam in his wallet.
Abolitionist Henry David Thoreau refused to pay his poll tax in
in protest of slavery. Although Thoreau
spent only one night in jail, he was eager to serve his cause, and his act of
civil disobedience reverberates through history. Had Thoreau organized a
massive poll tax revolt, human bondage in the
U.S. may have
ended sooner. Money chants louder than a thousand activists. Cynical, yes,
but the simple truth is most people pay attention when their bottom line is
threatened. Internet technology has the potential to assemble a tax showdown
quickly and efficiently.
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