War Tax Resister Dana Visalli

At the wtr-s mailing list, Dana Visalli shares some of his experiences with tax resistance:

I started “resisting” in about 1990, paying half of my taxes, putting the other half in an escrow account. About 8 years ago I stopped filing — I just don’t do forms well. I make something like $15–18,000 a year and half of that is now from farmer’s market and other invisible sources. I also work as a contracting botanist for the Forest Service and other official entities, and have had the touching experience of having both the local Forest Service office and one of my banks help me conceal income from the criminals that run the country (that would be the aforementioned US government).

I recently had a $2400 payment processed through the central USFS payment center in Albuquerque. To the credit of their “smart” computers, they caught the name and subtracted $400 from the total against money they say I owe them. What is interesting to me is that they don’t take it all; this is truly the land of justice! This happened once before with a $3700 payment, which they took $500 of. In both cases I was delighted to get the larger portion. With the $400 they took this time they said they were going to load up a white phosphorus bomb to burn the skin off an Iraqi child. Sorry kid, I tried.

They sent the remainder to an ancient account number of mine that they had liened, drained and closed about 8 years ago. They weren’t too sharp on that move. The bank phoned me and said they would write me a cashier’s check but I should straighten up my account numbers with the feds.

The bottom line is, it is so stunning how obedient we are as human beings, without even thinking about it. Why would we pay for the death of all these beautiful human beings around the world, slaughtered by the US government? I think it is because we are not fully formed yet, we have not emerged into our full human potential. So we are ruled by fear. I find that Americans are so afraid of their own government that they take it completely for granted, like their next breath of air or the next beat of their heart. I now consider it an important evolutionary step to walk through that invisible barrier to a more meaningful life.

Here is a short quote from The Politics of Obedience: A Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, written by Etienne De La Boetie in . The book can be found online, although I find this intro to the essay to be even better.

“Every tyranny must necessarily be grounded upon general popular acceptance. In short, the bulk of the people themselves, for whatever reason, acquiesce in their own subjection. The central problem of political theory: why in the world do people consent to their own enslavement? The mystery of civil obedience: why do people, in all times and places, obey the commands of government, which always constitutes a small minority of the society?”

Who will pay no income tax this year? The Tax Policy Center has the numbers. Here’s what they estimate:

households per income level, and those who pay no federal income tax

This is all assuming the tax law stays more-or-less the same between now and when people file their returns . (They don’t report the numbers on households that report negative income during the year, so I had to extrapolate this from some of their other figures.) Note that “income” here isn’t the same as the Adjusted Gross Income shown on the tax return. The Tax Policy Center has its own definition of “cash income” that it uses for this purpose.