The first of the annual tax season war tax resister profiles are starting to hit the news. here’s one from the News & Advance of Lynchburg, Virginia (excerpts):
[T]here’s Lynchburg resident Larry Bassett. Unlike the Tea Party crowd, he doesn’t mind paying taxes. He realizes that the government is actually us and that it needs our money to keep running.
He just doesn’t want any of his money to go to the military.
“I’ve felt that way ever since the Vietnam War,” he said. “That’s what made me a tax resister.”
It’s not so much the military itself that Bassett objects to. What bothers him is the late 20th-century and early 21st-century trend of fighting surrogate wars on behalf of foreign governments. He doesn’t like the fact that America has become, in effect, the world’s bouncer.
“I like the idea of the military going into places like Haiti after the earthquake to help out,” Bassett said. “I don’t like the idea of killing civilians in some other part of the world.”
So, on a number of occasions over the past four decades, the University of Michigan graduate has made a point of giving his fair share to organizations that he does support, instead of contributing to the general pot.
There is this general conviction, no doubt encouraged by the federal government, that if we don’t pay our taxes, an alarm will sound somewhere in the halls of the Internal Revenue Service on April 16 and a SWAT team will be dispatched to our doorstep.
“For whatever reason, that doesn’t happen,” Bassett said. “I was hauled into court in Brooklyn once, and the judge told me I should get a lawyer, but the whole thing wound up being dropped.”
One reason, perhaps, is that the IRS doesn’t like a lot of publicity. Another is that most tax resisters are far from millionaires, and the amount of money involved is too small to be worth a lot of bother.
“I’m prepared to go to jail,” said Bassett, “but it hasn’t happened yet.”
Bassett may be disobedient, but he’s at least timely. He’s already sent checks out to several of his favorite organizations, including the local Meals on Wheels and a national tax resister’s group.
“Meals on Wheels just sent me back the standard note thanking me for my contribution,” he said. “A lot of organizations don’t like to acknowledge contributions from tax resisters because they feel it might alienate some of their other contributors.
“But they’ve already cashed the check.”