, groups opposed to the U.S. war on and occupation of Iraq, including the civil disobedience coordinating umbrella group Iraq Pledge of Resistance and the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, launched the “Hang Up on War” phone tax resistance campaign.
I discussed the theory and practice of phone tax resistance in some detail in an Picket Line entry. One thing I didn’t know at the time but have learned since is that in , the phone tax was almost repealed — Congress finally passed a bill to get rid of what was originally a “temporary” “luxury” tax to fund the Spanish-American War. The repeal was popular in Congress — the vote was something like 420-2 in favor of it — but President Clinton vetoed the bill that contained the repeal, possibly because of other parts of the bill that weren’t related to the phone tax, and the repeal legislation hasn’t been successfully reintroduced.
But enough of the history lesson: The phone tax lives — and brings in about $5 billion each year that the federal government can spend on whatever silly ideas it has. It’s an easy target for protesters and war tax resisters, and the new campaign should help more people get a taste of tax resistance.
The “Hang Up on War” campaign’s site, http://www.hanguponwar.org/, includes
- a FAQ
- a how-to guide (including sample bills from Verizon and AT&T showing where the federal excise tax shows up), and
- a rundown of the (minor) risks involved