Ken Gingerich of Johnson County said, “I feel the military budget in this
country and military spending is way out of line.”
, Gingerich and his wife Noreen
have done their best to make sure their taxes do not fund any sort of
Ken said, “We’ve either lived below the taxable income or withheld a portion
of our taxes.”
Ken calls it war tax resistance. It is his protest to end violence. The
calls it a frivolous tax return, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine. It is a
risk the Gingerich’s are willing to take. They are Mennonites. Their
religious beliefs do not allow for violence.
Ken said, “If I have to choose between god and country, it’ll be god.”
There’s what looks like a video-link on the site too, but I wasn’t able to get
past the opening commercial.
Nathan Tabor at The Conservative Voice
weighs in on the sudden war tax resistance controversy — “New Tax Protest
Here’s how it works: Anti-war zealots are refusing to pay their taxes because
they say they don’t want their money to pay for the war in Iraq. That means
the rest of us are forced to make up for the shortfall. In other words, if
you support our troops, you could face the prospect of an even greater tax
burden, because some ideologues are refusing to pay their fair share.
The Associated Press article had the same sort of thing: “Tax resisters place
an undue burden on taxpayers who pay their fair share of taxes,
spokeswoman Dianne Besunder said.” It’s a strangely seductive form of
quasi-reasoning. I see it cropping up all the time when people debate tax
The government tries to steal from person A and person B.
Person B manages to get out of it; person A doesn’t.
Ergo, person B is stealing from person A.
There’s often a hidden #2½ in there too, something like “the government tries
to get what it couldn’t get out of person A from person B.” But still, how
“the government steals more from person A” becomes “person B steals more from
person A” is a weird bit of logical alchemy. As an argument it doesn’t hold up
well under scrutiny, but it seems to offer something that passes for
an argument and expresses something that people find compelling.
Having been interrogated on numerous talk shows over the past several days,
I’ve had time to do some thinking about how to respond to questions like
these. I’m no expert in this sort of thing, but it seems to be a learnable
art. I think tax resisters might be well served by collecting some of these
common interview questions along with some suggestions on how best to handle
I wonder what would happen if we responded to the quasi-logic I illustrated
above by trying to make this implied #2½ more explicit: “You’re afraid that if
the government doesn’t get what it wants from me that it will take more from
you?” That preserves the person’s concern, while also preserving the fact that
it’s the government that’s doing all the taking.
Of course, you have to then address the concern, but then at least you’re
doing so from a foundation based in reality. It’s hard to address a concern
that doesn’t make sense, except to deny it outright, which isn’t very
persuasive to the person with the concern.
But it might not turn out to be the right “hidden #2½.” Another possible
interpretation is: “By not paying taxes, person A is taking money away from
the government that the government would have spent to benefit person B.” This
is a whole different argument, and requires a whole different response. Until
I figure out which interpretation is the right one, I won’t really know how to
answer the concern.
It seems to me that often people will express a sort of knee-jerk aversion or
disapproval in the form of a pseudo-argument like this, when they themselves
don’t really know which real argument they’re advancing. By asking them to
make their reasoning more explicit, not only am I understanding their concerns
better, but I’m helping them to better understand their own concerns. Indeed,
sometimes it’s enough to make the real argument behind the pseudo-argument
explicit, without trying to address it.
eats is a blog that, no surprise, is dedicated to “tips, recipes
and techniques” for satisfying your appetite without draining your wallet.
This site ventures more into the timely-coupons and stuff-in-boxes-and-cans
area than most sites of this sort.