For some of us in the peace movement, however, it is not only Congress that holds the power of the purse. We believe it each individual’s right to say “not in my name and not with my money!” Some of us are willing to sacrifice security and comfort by refusing to pay for the war through our federal income taxes. We are war tax resisters, and here are some of our stories.
Nelson, who works as a union organizer, considers what he is doing an act of civil disobedience. He knows his decision could lead to penalties including fines or jail.
“It’s a serious act to violate the law,” he said. “I respect the law and the tax system. I’m not trying to evade taxes. I’m just trying to minimize my complicity in what the government is doing. I want my money to go where it can help.”
It’s a long shot, but Jenkins hopes to take advantage of the Religious
Freedom Restoration Act and of his painstaking research into the history of
American government accomodation of religious scruples to make an argument
that will succeed where others have failed.
As Americans finish their annual tax-filing flurry to meet a
deadline, it is true that tax
rates are lower than they were a few years ago. But according to a different
yardstick, the federal government’s reach is expanding.
Slightly over half of all Americans — 52.6 percent — now receive significant
income from government programs, according to an analysis by Gary Shilling,
an economist in Springfield,
N.J. That’s up from
49.4 percent in and far above the 28.3
percent of Americans in . If the trend
continues, the percentage could rise
to pass 55 percent, where
it stood in on the eve of President
Reagan’s move to scale back the size of government.
Mr. Shilling’s analysis found that about 1 in 5 Americans hold a government
job or a job reliant on federal spending. A similar number receive Social
Security or a government pension. About 19 million others get food stamps, 2
million get subsidized housing, and 5 million get education grants. For all
these categories, Mr. Shilling counted dependents as well as the direct
recipients of government income.
One in five!
, a dozen war tax resisters from
Northern California War Tax Resistance and Sonoma County Taxes for Peace
handed out checks ranging from $500 to $1,500 to about a dozen
community and activist
organizations. The money came from the interest on redirected taxes that
resisters have deposited in the
People’s Life Fund
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