Daydreaming of War Tax Resister Merit Badges

I start a week-long vacation in Mexico with some friends of mine. We’ll be taking in the ferociously exciting Feria Nacional de la Pirotecnia in Tultepec.

Don’t expect much to change here for the next several days. If I still have eyes and fingers when I get back, I promise to get back to work.


I have this mostly unformed, recurring fantasy that the anti-war movement one day decides to wholeheartedly adopt war tax resistance as a tactic. The new message is that everyone in the movement is a tax resister — if you don’t resist, you’re playing for the wrong team. People even wear patches or ribbons or something to make visible their commitment. Maybe there’s even some sort of ritual that takes place as people join this new order: the “Defunders of the Feith” or some such.

So that everybody can take part, even the timid or those with more to lose by stepping out-of-line, there’s a graded menu of options for people to choose from. To be a one-star Defunder, you must choose a certain number of items from list A; a two star Defunder adds to that a selection from list B; and so on. The idea being that anyone can be a one-star war tax resister, and there’s no excuse not to be if you’re at all sympathetic to the idea of defunding the war machine.

I dunno… it just might work, but it seems a little too regimented for the anti-war movement I know. But what’s a blog for if not to share half-baked ideas. What would you add to this list?

Go car-free: Stop paying the federal excise-tax at the pump!
Get a letter-to-the-editor published, or a song performed, or a book written advocating war tax resistance
Stop smoking: The feds tax tobacco, too.
Follow the budgeting plan in Your Money Or Your Life, reduce your spending and get out of debt
Brew up and share some homebrewed beer, and avoid the excise tax on alcohol
File a “peace tax” protest form with your taxes
Reduce your W4 withholding so you’re not giving the government an interest-free loan
Move your savings account from a bank to a credit union
Volunteer at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance center and help people get bigger refunds
Convince someone else to become a Defunder
✫✫ Refuse to pay the excise tax on your phone bill
✫✫ Start earning some income under-the-table and using barter to pay for goods and services
✫✫ Withhold a symbolic amount, like $9.11, from your income taxes
✫✫ Reduce your income so that you’re living completely below the income tax line
✫✫ Convince a one-star Defunder to earn another star
✫✫✫ Refuse to file — and tell the IRS why
✫✫✫ Withhold 48% of the tax you owe to protest that 48% of your income tax goes to pay for war; or, heck, withhold 100% for the same reason
✫✫✫ Move completely into the underground economy and stop earning any declared income whatsoever
✫✫✫ Disrupt the IRS with various forms of sniggling.
✫✫✫ Practice tax evasion — hide your assets from the tax collector.
✫✫✫ Take your claims to court — demand a legal opinion about your taxpayer obligations under the Nuremberg Principles, for instance.
✫✫✫ Convince a two-star Defunder to earn another star
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