Some tabs that have slid across my browser in recent days:
International Tax Resistance
- International direct action against traffic-ticket-generating robots continues, with such machines being destroyed or disabled in Italy, France, and Germany; France and Italy; France and England (plus news that the new president of Brazil plans to discontinue use of the machines); and France and Saudi Arabia.
- Here’s some more information (in Spanish) about the two war tax resisters from Spain who had their fines overturned in court, including what looks to be some excerpts from the ruling (see ♇ 7 May 2019 for an English translation of a newspaper article on the case).
- You may remember that Indian Prime Minister Modi abruptly removed high-denomination bank notes from the ranks of legal tender in . This was meant to strike a knockout-blow at the underground economy by forcing people to use more legible, traceable economic transactions than anonymous cash. It doesn’t seem to have worked. Despite the significant short-term inconvenience and blow to the economy, the amount of cash currency in circulation quickly recovered to its previous levels and is now back on-trend to where it was before the experiment. You may have heard calls to eliminate the U.S. $100 bill, for similar motives. This experience may discourage such an effort.
- Farmers in Kurdistan who have refused to pay a “war tax” to what remains of the Islamic State (Daesh/ISIS) have suffered reprisals, such as having their fields burned down for their refusal.
- Ugandan legislator and entertainer Bobi Wine (Robert Kyagulanyi) has been arrested on charges relating to an anti-tax street protest he helped to organize .
War Tax Resistance in the U.S.
- The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee held a national conference in Washington, D.C. . Here’s a write-up by one of the attendees. Unfortunately they got tangled up in ongoing actions by leftist activists who were trying to occupy the Venezualan embassy there on behalf of the brutal, disastrous Maduro regime. It has been a disappointing thing to see groups like NWTRCC, CodePink, Veterans for Peace, and United for Peace and Justice carrying water for the cruel Maduro tyranny as though that were the only way to oppose disingenuous U.S. machinations there. It puts a shameful stain on what’s left of the U.S. peace movement every time a group like this uses a phrase like “the legitimate democratic Maduro government of Venezuela”.
- Lincoln Rice and Sue Barnhart recently talked about war tax resistance on the Spirit in Action radio show, as did Ann Barron and Larry Bassett in a follow-up.
- The Greenfield Reporter profiles war tax resister Thomas Wilson, who died .
U.S. Taxpayer Morale
A number of items that have been in the news lately concern how the U.S. tax system has become increasingly corrupt and imbalanced in favor of wealthy tax evaders. Stories like this tend to damage what’s known in tax wonk circles as “taxpayer morale” — the willingness of citizens to pay their taxes without evasion or the necessity of harsh arm-twisting and draconian oversight. For example:
- Income tax audits of the Americans with the highest reported incomes have fallen dramatically. Just in the last year alone the rate fell by half.
- Income taxes on corporations represent the lowest percentage of federal revenue since at least 1960, with the burden increasingly resting instead on individuals.
- The New York Times pointed out that in California, local governments and corporations have rigged the sales tax system in such a way that a portion of the sales tax people pay is gifted to the same companies who collect it. In other words, the sales tax becomes a “bonus profit” to those companies, collected from consumers and enforced by law.
- Millions of former U.S. tax filers appear to have dropped out — not filing returns in the last filing season. One theory is that the tax reform legislation that came into effect last year caused some people to owe where they hadn’t before, or to owe more, and that they decided not to file as a result. Three million people who received refunds in didn’t file at all in .
- Trump’s tariffs are on target to reverse the benefits of recent income tax cuts for low- and middle-income taxpayers by raising the prices of consumer goods.
- There’s been another report put out about the “tax gap” (the difference between what’s owed and what’s collected) in the U.S. However it still uses largely stale numbers, updating them largely based on estimates and trends rather than evidence.