By Lindsay Koshgarian for Truthout – Among the marches, petitions and call-in campaigns that comprise much of the Trump resistance movement, one resistance tactic gets little attention: withholding taxes. As the US seems ready to slide into yet another Middle East war in Syria while preparing for massive cuts to government programs at home, what role does tax resistance play in opposing regressive and violent policies? While being anti-tax is typically associated with conservatism, there is a small but longstanding tradition within the progressive movement of withholding taxes — specifically, war taxes. How does tax resistance work, and does it result in a lack of support for government programs that most progressives support and would like to see grow? How much of our taxes go to war, the military and militarism anyway, and how much to worthy programs like education, aid for struggling families, the environment and more Paying income taxes may not usually spur introspection, but it might if Americans realized that, for example, they are working 27 days out of every year to pay taxes that support war profiteers.
By National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. From now through the last day to file federal income taxes on Tuesday, April 18, hundreds of people across the United States are taking public action to call for a change in federal budget priorities away from military spending and toward human and environmental needs. Individually and in groups, many of these concerned activists will divest from war by refusing to pay some or all of their federal income taxes. “Survival demands better ideas, not better weapons,” say members of the Raytheon Peacemakers, who will hold an urgent peace vigil on Tax Day, April 18, at the gates of Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona. Raytheon stock prices climbed after their missiles struck targets in Syria on April 6. Jack Cohen-Joppa of the Peacemakers says, “Our federal and local taxes have supported the expansion of this plant to produce weapons that are Tucson’s largest export. Tucson needs good paying jobs, but we should not ‘develop’ our own community by destroying others around the world.”
By Frida Berrigan for Common Dreams – There have always been fights about taxes — stretching back to the crates of over-taxed tea tossed into the Boston Harbor and a thoughtful man’s night in jail for refusing to pay taxes in the slave-holding state of Massachusetts. This country’s long history of tax resistance stretches from the American Revolution to the religious non-cooperation of groups like the Mennonites and the Quakers to the movement to abolish slavery to resistance to every war fought in the 20th century. Following in the footsteps of this history and the example of Henry David Thoreau, there have always been a principled few who refuse to pay all or part of their federal taxes as an expression of their pacifism, or as a way of opposing specific policies. And there have always been demonstrations on April 15.
By Josh Hoxie for Other Words – After the failed effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the Trump administration has set its sights on its next big project: so-called “tax reform.” And the “reform” they seek appears guaranteed to elicit disdain from all sides — with the notable exception of the ultra-wealthy. Let’s first acknowledge that tax reform is hard. The system is held in place by entrenched interests who don’t want to see their favorite loopholes taken away. That’s a big reason why it’s been over 30 years since the last major tax overhaul, championed by Ronald Reagan in 1986. Adding to the complexity of tax reform is the fact that all of the White House people working on it are resplendently wealthy
By Staff of ITEP – “This study is a long-term, unprecedented examination of corporation taxes paid—or not paid—by the nation’s biggest, most profitable firms,” said Matthew Gardner, an ITEP senior fellow and lead author of the report. “It reveals that many of the big corporations that are lobbying for a lower corporate tax rate to be more ‘competitive’ already pay substantially less than the 35 percent statutory rate.” The study examines eight years of data on federal income taxes paid by Fortune 500 firms that provided sufficient, reliable information in their financial reports to allow calculation of their effective U.S. and foreign tax rates.
By Paul Street for Truthdig. Two things are clear going forward. First, progressives hoping to defeat Trump and Trumpism will need to drive a class wedge between the new administration’s big basket of deplorable, super-wealthy plutocrats and the president’s conservative WWC base. Second, Trump is going to provide a lot of ammunition for that wedge-building task with policies that mock his posture as some kind of great white working-class hero. It is distressing that candidate Trump got away with taking that populist pose in the first place. Born to significant real estate wealth, Trump owed his rise to hyper-opulence “to his relentless manipulation of the corporate-controlled media market … to increase the market value of his name, which he then licensed to be sold. … The result,” author Mike Lofgren notes, “was Trump resorts, Trump steaks, even Trump dietary supplements retailed through multilevel marketing, the polite biz school euphemism for a pyramid scheme. As for Trump University, the principal lesson it imparted … was how to avoid being victimized by such scams in the future. … Such is Donald Trump, friend of the working class.”
By Joanna Walters for The Guardian – The new president has driven some to make a statement with their bank accounts – despite fears such a protest could send demonstrators to jail. Andrew Newman always pays his taxes, even if he hates what the government is doing with them. But not this year. For him, Donald Trumpis the dealbreaker. He’ll pay his city and state taxes but will refuse to pay federal income tax as a cry of civil disobedience against the president and his new administration. Newman is not alone. A nascent movement has been detected to revive the popularity of tax resistance – last seen en masse in America during the Vietnam war but which has been, sporadically, a tradition in the US and beyond going back many centuries. “My tax money will be going towards putting up a wall on the Mexican border instead of helping sick people.
By Grant Stern for Occupy Democrats – The State of California’s elected officials are exploring ways to combat President Trump’s Executive Order cutting off funding to sanctuary cities. National legal experts say that Trump’s sanctuary cities order is unconstitutional because, at its core, the order is an attempt to commandeer state and local officials in violation of the 10th Amendment. California’s Democratic leaders believe there are numerous federal programs receiving state funds as well, which they will seek to cut, to make up for anything Republicans siphon out of their budgets. San Francisco’s CBS affiliate reports that the federal government only spends 78 cents in California for every tax dollar sent from that state to Washington…
By Staff for the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, Tax refusal has a long history in the U.S., from the Boston Tea Party, to Thoreau’s refusal of the poll tax collected for the Mexican-American War, to widely practiced tax resistance during the Vietnam War. Refusal to pay taxes for war has been continually practiced since World War II, at times by only small groups of pacifists; at other times, such as before and since the invasion of Iraq, by thousands opposed to war. Today the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) calls on U.S. taxpayers to reinvigorate this form of resistance in order to challenge federal policies, spending priorities, and actions. We oppose Trump administration plans to boost the Pentagon budget and cut social spending. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (border and immigration control, and the 1033 program that sends military weapons to local police forces) and the Energy Department (nuclear weapons), among other agencies, are major parts of the military budget.
By David Cay Johnston for The Washington Spectator – Millions of voters believe putting Donald Trump in the White House will lift them out of the economic hell they have endured for decades, working more and getting nowhere except deeper in debt. They could not be more wrong. Their concerns are real. The latest income tax data show that in 2014 the average income reported by the bottom 90 percent was just $328 higher than in 1967. That’s an increase of 1 percent more than inflation after 47 years, not that anyone would notice such a trifling change. But Trump’s own words show that he thinks the working-class Americans who have invested their hopes and perhaps votes in him earn too much.
By Josh Hoxie for Inequality.org – At the end of Thomas Piketty’s 2013 blockbuster Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the French economist makes a compelling case for a global wealth tax. Levying a tax on wealth, Piketty explains, would be a preferable alternative to global war or economic calamity, the only other drivers for a significant redistribution of wealth he could find in the historical record. A global tax on wealth back in 2013 sounded quaint to many seasoned wealth researchers, a nice idea but something destined to go nowhere. The election of Donald J. Trump seemed to only confirm this political assessment.
By Kim Brown for The Real News Network. During the past week, protests took place throughout Mexico in reaction to a 20% price increase for gasoline. The protests have so far resulted in four deaths and the arrests of over 700 people. Also, over 300 stores are said to have been looted throughout the country. The gasoline price increase is part of a plan by President Enrique Peña Nieto to eliminate subsidies in the wake of the partial privatization of the country’s oil industry. On Wednesday, President Peña Nieto vowed to continue with the price increases despite the protests. Well, joining us today from Mexico City to analyze the situation in Mexico, we’re joined by John Ackerman. John is a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist with both La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.
By Tahir Nasser for RNS – Piketty “proves” that the more one’s income derives from wealth than from wages, the richer one becomes, faster. Specifically, he showed that the yearly rate of return on wealth (think houses, land, gold, etc.) usually exceeds the yearly increase in wages, known as the growth rate. The inter-generational consequence, says Piketty, is that “people with inherited wealth need save only a portion of their income from capital to see that capital grow more quickly than the economy as a whole,” making it “almost inevitable that inherited wealth will dominate wealth amassed from a lifetime’s labor by a wide margin.”
By Sam Pizzigati for Inequality – We don’t know exactly how much Donald Trump paid in taxes last year. He hasn’t released his 2015 federal income tax return yet. He most likely never will. But let’s keep in mind that we don’t actually know how much any individual American billionaire paid in taxes last year, with just one exception. Investor Warren Buffett last month released his own basic tax info as a protest of sorts against candidate Trump.