How much of your tax dollar goes to military spending? Almost half: 48 cents of every dollar in the $2,945 billion U.S. Federal Budget for fiscal 2011 is slated for military spending, according to statistics compiled by the War Resisters League.
One way to visualize that at a glance is this: Everything colored red in the small pie chart at right is “military” in the 2011 budget. (To download a free full-size copy of the annual War Resisters’ pie chart, click here and you’ll jump to their download page.)
This anti-tax movement may have been largely forgotten in the flurry of big headlines following Tea Party protests, this year. But, there is a long American tradition of evading taxes, because of opposition to war. It’s a form of conscientious objection. Tea Baggers oppose all sorts of government spending—bailouts, healthcare, and so on—but you don’t see opposition to war on their list. Is war an “approved expenditure” for the Tea Party movement?
Like other expressions of the anti-taxation movement, war tax resistance has a long history in America. In the 1600s, the Algonquin opposed a tax by the Dutch to improve a Dutch fort, according to the War Resisters website. The Quakers opposed taxes for the American Revolution and many were jailed as a result.
How do tax resisters … well, resist? There are many forms, according to the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee and the War Resisters League. Some are small gestures, such as not paying the Federal Excise Tax that is part of your telephone tax. Others are symbolic, like withholding a small amount from one’s personal income tax. But others are big: withholding 48% because that’s the military portion—or not filing taxes at all. Some war tax resisters actually structure their households in such a modest way, each year, that they’re below the level of taxable income.
What do you think of the tax resisters? Who has the morally superior position in the anti-tax movement: Tea Baggers or those who oppose taxes for war?