“Social Security & Medicare” Tax Ends Up Paying for War

An analysis in ’s New York Times summarizes the way that payroll taxes, ostensibly used for trust funds and distinct from the rest of the federal budget, end up being dipped into by Congress for everything else — including, of course, the war budget:

In , President Bush and Congress have viewed the Social Security surplus more as a cookie jar than a lockbox. The three budgets that Congress proposed, and President Bush signed — for  — used $480 billion in excess Social Security payroll taxes to fund government programs. According to the budget office, administration policies call for an additional $849 billion of excess Social Security funds to support government operations over .

I brought up the payroll tax, I noted that it’s much more difficult to evade than the income tax and I quoted an article that said “more than 79 percent of U.S. families now pay more in payroll taxes than in federal income taxes” and “, the percentage of government revenue derived from payroll taxes went up from 12 to 33.”

All this presents a problem for a tax resister like myself. My goal is to stop paying for things like neocon military adventurism and my technique is through successfully resisting the federal income tax. This is not a symbolic protest but an attempt to reduce my complicity in acts I abhor. But if payroll taxes also end up funding these things, then I need to figure out a way to avoid paying these as well, and the same techniques I’ve been using to stop paying income tax won’t work for this.

When I discussed this , I said:

There are ways to get out of the payroll tax. You can stop earning wages, for one — if you can figure out a way to make a living off of some other source of income. You can work in the underground economy, or work as an independent contractor and simply (illegally) refuse to pay those taxes. Or you can be a member of a religious group that is conscientiously opposed to insurance (for instance because “god will provide”), that supports its dependent members, and that has existed continuously . The Amish are an example of such a religious group; I’m not sure which other ones qualify.

Can you think of any other techniques?

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