This tax season, let’s spend a little time remembering all the horrible things your tax money does:
1. Wars. You would think that in a democracy that we’d have a voice in the wars we fight. Not these days. The Pentagon, an unelected arm of the government that does the dirty work of corporations, ordered all these wars. They get the money from you to fund the wars that the corporations profit from to acquire (steal) more resources that the corporations profit from yet again. Now that’s a lot of profits! None of which are yours because you’re in debt, as represented by your government. You are probably in personal debt too, but that’s none of my business; that’s the big business of your creditors, who want to keep you in debt to make more profits.
2. Corporations don’t pay taxes. That’s right, the same people causing all the wars, making all the profits off taxpayer money don’t even pay taxes. Just look at GE: according to an article in the completely-believable New York Times, GE paid $0 taxes on $14.2 billion in profits last year. This from a AAA triple rated company who got $140 billion in bailout money. The list goes on to include Exxon-Mobil, Boeing, Bank of America etc. And it’s an epidemic: a 2005 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report showed that between 1998 and 2005 “about two-thirds of corporations operating in the United States did not pay taxes.”
3. Rich people don’t pay taxes. We all know that tax cuts for the wealthy were extended, but the more money you have, the harder it is to track. This is why Donald Trump and billionaire hedge fund managers can go without paying anything in taxes. Between real estate depreciation and offshore tax havens, there’s not much left for the IRS.
4. Bailouts. The same corporations who take your tax money to make the wars to steal more resources to make more profits also, quite simply, take your money. That’s right, no war required. Once you’re “too big to fail” the American people will bail you out with unlimited money. A recipe for world peace? Doubtful, especially with all the inflation it will produce. As Bloomberg reported last year, bailout loans of $9 trillion were given out by the Fed with $12.8 trillion pledged. The actual number could be much higher, this was just what the Fed disclosed after congressional pressure. Even Harley Davidson Motorcycles got bailout money.
5. The Federal Reserve. These are the people who make sure your dollar is worth less and less year after year by printing trillions of it to fund wars and bailouts. Each dollar that’s printed is money out of your pocket and into the top 1% of wealthy Americans, because they’re the ones who get it first. It works like this: the Fed prints it, big financiers and corporations get it first as the prices of everything go up immediately across the board. But did you get the money yet? No! It’s in “their” hands, literally. The rest of us have to deal with the high prices of everything from food to gas and other commodities, which are ironically excluded from most inflation figures. Since the dollar is still the world reserve currency, these higher prices more deeply effect poorer populations around the world: the revolution in Egypt was fueled by high food costs.
6. Austerity. Funny how workers came into the crosshairs of politicians. It’s as if workers caused the financial meltdown. How do you feel about paying a government who attacks teachers earning $50,000/year and doesn’t bother asking any corporations for money?
7. Home foreclosures. It’s pretty amazing how the same banks who received trillions in bailout money are still receiving ownership of American houses. First they take your tax dollars in the form of a bailout, then they take your house. The banks are too big to fail, yet American families are allowed to fail all the time.
7. Record corporate profits. Amidst all the agony listed above, corporations still posted their best quarterly profits ever last November to the tune of $1.66 trillion (link). So why are they hunting workers, destroying unions and throwing families out of their homes?
8. US Aid. You know those billions we give to foreign countries every year in “aid”? Well it doesn’t help much of anyone except our corporations. Whether it’s a free trade deal here or a privatization there, our aid ends up fighting democracy worldwide. Our aid spans the globe propping up dictators like Egypt’s Mubarak while overthrowing uncooperative democracies like Haiti’s Aristide (2004 coup) and Honduras’ Zelaya ( 2009 coup). Also expensive are failed coups, like Hugo Chavez in Venezuala (2002) and Evo Morales in Bolivia (2008). Do you really want your taxes spent on destroying democracies worldwide? For a great look at how our aid actually increases the poverty worldwide, see this and this.
9 BP oil spill. Where’s our $20 billion BP?
10. Israel. Sure they fall into #8, but for $3 billion in annual aid we should expect more in return. Like peace? How much more does that cost?
Conclusion? The best way to fight injustice is to deny it funds. Of course most of us are enslaved to W-4 wage earner status and don’t have a choice. Yes, the poor get stuck with the bill once again. But if you do have a choice, join the likes of Henry David Thoreau and choose not to fund a government that’s by the corporation, for the corporation. Now that’s capitalism we can believe in!
For more information on tax resistance see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_resistance
Goldi is an NYC based writer and musician who’s inspired by being bombed by F-16s. He’s argued with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer and pretty much anyone else who will listen. www.GoldishackGuerrillas.com