Fred X wrote to me today:
The impulse for my writing this email is your resistance to supporting the military through income tax. I’m doing the exact same thing. I paid no income tax . Legally. And I plan to do the same this year. And probably for some time to come. I too live on a minimal amount of money, avoid paying tax, and have become very dedicated to this concept through recent developments in international relations.
So I wrote back with some questions, starting with: “Did you find lowering your income below the tax threshold was harder or easier than you expected?”
Easier. I didn’t realize just how high that threshold really is, and was pleasantly surprised when I did my taxes for and discovered that I was able to pay a total of zero income tax, both fed & state, for the whole year. It wasn’t something I did intentionally at first, but as events unfolded leading to war, it has become a stated goal of mine.
“Did you have to lower your income more or less than you’d anticipated?”
I didn’t have to lower my income. I’ve lived frugally for years, and it wasn’t much of an adjustment to simply stop the paychecks. My expenses haven’t changed much from when I made corporate wages to now. In fact, my monthly budget has remained the same for . Some things increase in price, and others decrease. I’m comfortable.
“Do you think of the decision to do this as more of a personal washing-blood-from-the-hands sort of thing, or more as a protest, or more of a practical strategy to defund the government (or something else entirely)?”
I think of this both as removing myself from any form of responsibility for what the current US administration is doing, as well as a type of protest. I don’t have a practical view of this way of life having any significant effect on the federal government, because the vast majority of Americans will never be steered away from their highly-consumptive lifestyles. But from a personal morality perspective, I gain a sense of “centeredness” in knowing that this is another way in which my lifestyle and my values work together in harmony. There are plenty of ways in which I’m a total hypocrite, but this isn’t one of them.