Tax Day protests today over military budget

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee has protests nationwide today for those appalled by the size of the military budget (and if you aren’t you should be.) Our multiple wars, most of which we are losing and are pointless to boot, drain the budget of money we need to spend at home. End the wars and the budget will repair itself.

Check their list for events near you.

The numbers are staggering: Over $1 trillion spent so far on the invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan since October 2001. Now we must add at least $1.1 million each for the Tomahawk missiles being launched into Libya — over 112 missiles were launched just the first day.

Nearly half of each tax dollar going to the Pentagon and military contractors. Cities and states are closing schools, cutting services, furloughing staff. Thousands of civilians and soldiers killed with no evidence that the world is safer.

Get out on (or before) tax day — Monday, April 18 is the final day to file this year – to protest the obscene and increasing military budget.

As Steppenwolf said in ‘Monster’ back in the 60’s:

“We don’t know how to mind our own business
Because the whole world’s got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who wins, you know we can’t pay the cost.”

Except now it’s even worse, we are fighting multiple wars, not just one. The US, more than any other country, has an economy based on war. This needs to change. Country Joe knew this.

“Come on Wall Street, don’t move slow
Man, this is war au go go
There’s plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade”

An economy based on war needs endless wars to continue. We need to stop the war machine. I’m not a tax protester, but many are. These protests are an excellent way to focus attention on our bloated and obscene military budget – something which both our deeply complicit parties fund with few if any questions.

Ozzy summed them up well in two words, didn’t he? “War pigs.”


  • Sue

    My advice: Don’t wreck your life by refusing to pay taxes on your earnings. The way to not forfeit your freedom, should you wish to not pay taxes, is to not make enough money to be taxed. Also, consider the fact that about half the people in this country love the pentagon/war machine and hate social programs. If it was up to them, they wouldn’t pay that part of taxes going to social security/medicare/npr/foreign aid, etc. So any strategy to individually defund military programs is offset.

    Protest if you want — in my view picketing doesn’t have an effect on government policy. The most effective method for individuals to make change is by providing facts to the populace.

    FYI: from IRS webpage on “frivolous arguments” the courts will not tolerate or hear:,,id=159932,00.html#_Toc284194016

    1. Contention: Taxpayers can refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds …

    Some argue that taxpayers may refuse to pay federal income taxes based on their religious or moral beliefs, or objection to the use of taxes to fund certain government programs….

    The Law: The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The First Amendment, however, does not provide a right to refuse to pay income taxes on religious or moral grounds, or because taxes are used to fund government programs opposed by the taxpayer. Nor does the First Amendment protect commercial speech or speech that aids or incites taxpayers to unlawfully refuse to pay federal income taxes, including speech that promotes abusive tax avoidance schemes.

    Relevant Case Law:
    United States v. Lee, 455 U.S. 252, 260 (1982) – the U.S. Supreme Court held that the broad public interest in maintaining a sound tax system is of such importance that religious beliefs in conflict with the payment of taxes provide no basis for refusing to pay, and stated that “[t]he tax system could not function if denominations were allowed to challenge the tax system because tax payments were spent in a manner that violates their religious belief.”

    Jenkins v. Commissioner, 483 F.3d 90, 92 (2d Cir. 2007), cert. denied, 552 U.S. 821 (2007) – the court upheld the decision of the Tax Court that the collection of tax revenues for expenditures that offended the religious beliefs of individual taxpayers did not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Clause, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, or the Ninth Amendment. In addition, the court upheld the imposition of a $5,000 frivolous return penalty against Jenkins.

    United States v. Ramsey, 992 F.2d 831, 833 (8th Cir. 1993) – the court rejected Ramsey’s argument that filing federal income tax returns and paying federal income taxes violates his pacifist religious beliefs and stated that Ramsey “has no First Amendment right to avoid federal income taxes on religious grounds.”

    Wall v. United States, 756 F.2d 52 (8th Cir. 1985) – the court upheld the imposition of a $500 frivolous return penalty against Wall for taking a “war tax deduction” on his federal income tax return based on his religious convictions and stated the “necessities of revenue collection through a sound tax system raise governmental interests sufficiently compelling to outweigh the free exercise rights of those who find the tax objectionable on bona fide religious grounds.”

    United States v. Peister, 631 F2d. 658 (10th Cir. 1980), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 1126 (1981) – the court rejected Peister’s argument that he was exempt from income tax based on his vow of poverty after he became the minister of a church he formed; his First Amendment right to freedom of religion was not violated.

    Don’t put yourself on the wrong side of Authority, people…

    • While some tax protesters say they’ve successfully not paid tax for years, many more protesters probably do either pay up eventually or have assets seized. Refusing to pay part or all of income tax on moral grounds is indeed considered a frivolous argument by the IRS and is not considered.

    • DJ

      There is a long tradition of religious tax protesters refusing to pay that portion of taxes associated with the military machine. They send in a tax return acknowledging the tax owed (thereby satisfying the filing requirement) but failing to pay all or some of the tax. The IRS levies their bank accounts each year plus interest and penalties, as it does for millions of others who fail to pay what they owe because they just don’t have the money. In this way, such conscientious objectors are able to avoid “rendering unto Caesar” to support militarism, while at the same time ultimately complying with their responsibilities as citizens. The goal is not to avoid paying, but rather to make the government seize the funds so that the tax is not paid voluntarily by the taxpayer.

      On the other hand, there is also a huge cash economy that pays no tax at all. Yes, the IRS has the law on its side should it choose to prosecute these people for tax evasion. But the truth is that the problem is so big and the millions of participants so plentiful that it defies practical solution (other than converting us all to trackable e-money). While I would never counsel anyone to avoid their tax responsibilities, it does give one pause.

      On the third hand, I do recognize that there are people who think we shouldn’t have such frivolous welfare items as interstate highways and safe food. While I agree that there’s plenty to be cut, a budget cut to current revenue would be draconian and feudal. IMO the real travesty not so much what the funds get spent on, but that the fed spends 2/3 more than its revenue will support. If you’re going to spend, you have to tax. If we are to have social programs, or if we are going to fight wars, someone has to pay for them. And it’s worth noting that even eliminating the military entirely would not free up enough funds to cover the current costs of the programs in place.

      There are two issues here: what gets spent, and who pays for it? I have problems on both fronts, since the current system of taxation targets the middle class and small business people (especially low-income) while the rich pay less and less by percentage on more and more income. The combination of *how* the government taxes and spends appears to me to be a vast pipeline of wealth transfer from our pockets into someone else’s.

      • Hmm. So then tax protesters who get penalized and fined each year actually end up supporting the war machine more because they pay more than they would have without the protests.

        While I can understand the sentiment, it’s all done in private, so no one really knows the protests are happening. As a database programmer, I can’t see how this slows down the IRS much if at all. Program the system so if taxpayer A is X number of months late and is refusing to pay then send an electronic demand to his bank taking out the money. An IRS agent barely needs to be involved.

        • DJ

          They do it for moral and spiritual (not political) reasons. How antiquated, eh? It stems from the ancient Christian tradition of nonviolence: refuse to allow the government to force you to do something immoral, but accept with grace the penalties for defying them.

          Doesn’t sound much like post-Constantinian Christianity, does it! It dates from an earlier time (prior to 316) in which Christians were radicals and would rather die than betray their faith. That spirit survives among a few, but it is clearly not mainstream.

          • What are these “moral” and “spiritual” concepts of which you speak? My granddaddy used to ramble on about such things but no one knew what he was talking about…

  • Sue

    You may do as you wish, of course.

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