I’ve had a busy week, and haven’t had much of a chance to keep up with news or keep The Picket Line up-to-date. Here are a few things that caught my eye as I tried to catch up:
- War tax resister Patrick Keaney wrote an eloquent open letter to U.S. President Barack Obama a few days ago.
- Musician Billy Bragg has threatened to stop paying taxes to protest the huge bonuses being paid out to Royal Bank of Scotland executives in the wake of taxpayer bailouts. He’s also encouraging others to join his resistance: “If you are a British tax payer and feel strongly about this issue, I invite you to join this campaign by simply writing a letter to the Chancellor informing him of your decision to withhold your tax payment until he acts on bonuses.”
- In the wake of the earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. government enacted a law allowing people who donate to relief efforts to declare donations they make in on their tax returns. This doesn’t change the maximum deduction limit, and the deduction remains one of the itemized deductions, so it will not be of practical use to many people, but if you’re still hunting for ways to get under last year’s tax line, this might help you.
- Contractors and companies who are delinquent in paying their federal taxes are supposed to be ineligible for new federal government contracts. But apparently, all along, all they’ve had to do is to lie about being good taxpayers to get as much government work as they can manage. The Obama administration says it plans to put some teeth in the rules, ordering federal agencies to double-check their contractors with the IRS before awarding contracts.
- Luzerne County, Pennsylvania is home to an unusually corrupt government culture (or maybe it’s just that they got caught). Federal authorities have charged 23 county residents with various corruption charges, including three judges and a county commissioner. And then the county government decided to hike taxes by 10%. Fred Heller said no. Why fund a nest of crooks? He’s recorded a protest song titled “Take This Tax and Shove It” and he’s started a campaign to get county residents to refuse to pay their taxes, at least until the government stables have had all their manure shoveled out.