Committed peace and justice activists are converging on Brooklyn
, for a
national strategy conference to broaden the network of people who refuse to
pay for war. The purpose of the conference will be to develop more effective
and creative methods of war tax refusal in order to extend its reach in the
United States, while providing additional support for existing individuals
and groups across the country deeply engaged in war tax resistance. If more
people refuse to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this will tighten
the screws of nonviolent resistance against the
U.S. war machine.
We will critically look at strategies and campaigns that have worked well in
the past and what we can do to improve them. We will brainstorm new ideas
and techniques. We will see what can be done to encourage other
constituencies to adopt this tactic for their communities. We will identify
the roadblocks to resistance (e.g., fear of
and attempt to address them. And we will celebrate our ability to take away
the government’s control of how our tax money is spent.
We hope you will join us!
I won’t be able to make it , but I’ll
keep an eye out for reports of goings-on at the conference and will report any
interesting developments here.
The Tax Foundation has been the
best source of pithy press releases, reports and graphs about the
phenomenon — that is, that there is an increasing number and percentage of
people in the United States who don’t earn enough money to pay any income tax.
Alas, they see this as a problem, while to me it is a solution.
But anyway, they’ve got
“Fiscal Fact” out that tries to make this point that we could lower the
tax rates on all the income that is taxed now if only we would start taxing
all that income that isn’t.
By their estimation, fully 60% of the income earned in the United States
today is covered by credits, deductions, exemptions, or is an untaxed transfer
or benefit, or is earned in the underground economy and undeclared, or is
earned by people too poor to need to file tax returns in the first place. In
other words, only 40% of the income earned in the United States is taxed at
any rate at all by the
They hope this shocking fact will encourage lawmakers to “broaden the tax
base” — which is to say, make more of that 60% taxable, so they can lower the
tax rates on the 40%.
This analysis does the traditional wealth-lobby think tank tax trick of
pretending that the Social Security / Medicare / payroll /
tax doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter. It’s pretty clear that much of the reason
for the lower-income exclusion from income tax is the larger burden of
for people at a low income.
With the federal government siphoning off this
money into the general fund, and with none other than the President himself
saying that the IOUs given in return are
worthless, it’s hard to believe that
is anything but an additional form of income tax — like the federal income tax
and the AMT.
Remarkably, though, the Republicans in Congress immediately thought of
squeezing the poor in this way when it came time to try to find money to pay
for the coming Katrina boondoggle (what? you expected them to look for
offsetting spending cuts?):
Don’t worry, San Francisco, nobody is really going to call that bluff.
You’ll get your pork, and everywhere else with powerful enough
congresscritters will too, and Halliburton will get its boondoggle cash to
themeparkize New Orleans, and they’ll just put it on our tab as usual:
“Americus” puts forth a mighty rant over at The Claire
So World War Ⅲ has begun, and I’m in the bad country. Our President is
totally F’ing mad, he and his millennial dispensationalist raptureists
backers are trying to fulfill an ancient religious prophecy about an
all-destroying battle between good and evil, and the most powerful propaganda
industry in history is strangely backing him up, pretending he’s sane and
reasonable, leading Americans on a cult of global-scale murder-suicide that
may very well leave our country in ruins. How did we come to this?
Bush is already being set up as the scapegoat, like Hitler before him, so
Americans can pretend we’re all good people who just got a bad ruler by some
fluke and we were “only doing our jobs” or “we didn’t know.” But nobody is
born with an urge to conquer and exterminate, with an active resistance to
empathy, with an inability to psychologically adapt. People like this are
made, and in a healthy society they’re seldom made and never given influence.
In America we crank them out by the millions and tend to make them our
leaders and congress critters. Wishful-thinking lefties say the American
people are against this war, but I don’t see it. I see every part of the
government and every large business going along with the war, and I see a
majority of people who either actively support it, or refuse to give any
attention to politics, or secretly feel good about “their” side ruling the
world and are happy that they don’t have to admit it, happy the system is set
up so they can benefit from brutality just by continuing to behave normally,
whatever that term may mean.…
And it doesn’t stop there… The trick is to bottom-out in
this sort of rhetorically nifty anger and frustration and then somehow pull
out of the dive into some hopeful and believable imagining.
“Americus” gives it a pretty good shot.