Monday, April 12, 2004

Food for Thought on Tax Day 

The proposed US Military budget for 2005 is $420 billion. And that doesn't include the cost of operations in Iraq.

Shell Game: Your Taxes Weren't Cut, Just Shifted
By Chuck Collins
TomPaine.com, 10 April 2004

EXCERPT: As we all prepare our tax forms and pony up to fund our government, it's important to understand that there's another invisible element at work here. The "tax cuts" that most working Americans have received under the Bush administration are actually not tax cuts, but tax shifts.... Because of this tax shift, any "cuts" that ordinary taxpayers get will be lost to state and local tax increases and services cuts. Even the "married with children" families who have been thought to be big beneficiaries are losers after the tax shifts. The real winners in three years of Bush "tax cuts" are the very wealthy, those with incomes of more than $500,000. For them, these tax cuts are real windfalls. For the rest of us, though, they end up being burdens. So as you prepare to crank out your tax forms, take note of how much you're paying. You might get the sensation—as I do—that your dollars are being shuffled around in a grand shell game of paperwork and political rhetoric.

Vermont War Tax Resister Follows His Conscience
By Carolyn Lorie
Battleboro Reformer via Common Dreams, 12 April 2004

EXCERPT: The Rev. Thaddeus Bennett considers himself to be a law-abiding citizen, a believer in the American system and a good Christian. He also happens to be a war-tax resister. Every year since 1982, Bennett writes a check out to the Internal Revenue Service for 48 percent of the taxes he owes, withholding the portion that would go to fund the military. "I knew my relationship with my soul and my God was not going to be okay if I was paying for the military budget," said Bennett, who is the pastor of St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Wilmington. The exact number of people who refuse to pay all or a portion of their income taxes in protest of military spending is not known. Not everyone chooses to file or make a public statement and many avoid contributing by scraping by on about $8,000 a year, the most that can be earned before federal taxes apply. The numbers also fluctuate -- they ebb in times of peace and surge in times of war, with the Vietnam era marking the peak of war tax refusal.
SEE ALSO: National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
SEE ALSO: US Military Budget Dwarfs Every Other Country's (Eight Times Larger than #2 China)
SEE ALSO: 'Highlights' of the 2005 Military Budget Request
SEE ALSO: Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes

Dennis Kucinich on Military Spending
Kuchinich.us, no date posted

EXCERPT: The U.S. military is the strongest in the world, by far, and will remain so. But Democrats cannot lead the nation without being strong enough to confront the bloat and waste in the Pentagon budget. Our military budget is almost as big as that of all other countries combined. While we have unchallenged superiority in military strength, we also have more people without health care than any other advanced industrial country -- and Democrats must be bold enough to say the two issues are linked. I don't agree with other Democrats that we can continue to increase military spending and still deliver on our domestic agenda for middle class and working Americans. We can't. That's voodoo budgeting. I propose trimming the Pentagon budget by 15% or $60 billion, and diverting that money to dwindling domestic priorities such as education.

Happy Ides of April!

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