War Tax Resister Lee Gough

The first of the annual tax-season media pieces about war tax resistance are starting to run. This one by Mark Anderson:

For Lee Gough, the decision came to a head last year, when her brother, Daniel, a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, wrote a letter to his commanding officer declaring his status as a conscientious objector. After nearly a decade of service, including weapons training on a guided missile destroyer, the widely respected 35-year old had begun to re-examine some basic assumptions, especially in light of the invasion of Iraq and questions from his 4-year-old daughter about what he did for a living. After being initially refused, Daniel declared his status a second time a year later before being allowed to resign his commission in .

In the face of her brother’s courage, Lee went looking for ways to live her own life more intentionally, and with greater purpose. “War tax resistance has come to be a way to exert my own personal power, which I believe no one can take away from me,” she says. “Just like declaring conscientious objector status when you are in the military, war tax resistance is not something some one is going to give you. It’s a power you’re going to have to assume for yourself.”

It’s tax season, and in this particular game show, you can’t win, but thanks for playing, and here’s a copy of our home game. It’s the National Budget Simulation — and it allows you to make the hard decisions that Congress refuses to make (and then to see what effect this has on the deficit).

The monetary cost of the Iraq war continues to climb — about $150 million every day at last count — so don’t forget to add that into your budget (like Bush did).

If you want to dig down into the nitty-gritty and you trust the Congressional Budget Office, here are their numbers on who pays taxes (by income level) and how much, arranged in “tables [that] show effective tax rates for the four largest sources of federal revenues — individual income taxes, corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, and excise taxes — as well as the total effective rate for the four taxes combined. The tables also present average pretax and after-tax household income; counts of households; and shares of taxes, income, and households for each fifth (quintile) of the income distribution and the top percentiles of households.” Note that this doesn’t include most of the effects of the recent tax cuts.