NWTRCC Conference Report

Originally, our November 2020 conference was going to take place in Colorado Springs. With the COVID-19 pandemic, we made the decision to meet online using Zoom instead. (Though I would like to thank Mary Sprunger-Froese and Rick Bickhart, who had put time and energy into the original planning of the conference.) If we had been able to meet in person, we might have seen some beautiful vistas. As it was, almost everyone had wonderful weather while we met online and some folks took their computers outside their homes during our conference. NWTRCC’s second online conference was a success. (Though to be clear, NWTRCC has had an online component to its conferences that allowed folks who were offsite to join us […]

Tax Resistance, Self-Employment and Health Insurance

DECISIONS, DECISIONS It’s a thorny problem when the complications of obtaining health insurance intersect with the desire to remain a nonfiling tax resister. This is exactly where I found myself when my luck ran out on the premium tax credit. As a self-employed freelancer, I have to purchase my own health insurance. For the past few years I was able to prove to the state’s insurance marketplace that my income was low enough to qualify by sending copies of my properly filled out but not filed tax forms. I knew it was a risky move when I started, and after the first year I thought I was in the clear. But now they’ve caught up with me and it’s not […]

All or Nothing Syndrome

Over these decades of doing war tax resistance, being in meetings about war tax resistance, counseling current or new resisters, etc., I’ve tried to argue against something I will call the “all or nothing syndrome.” “I can’t live below taxable income so I can’t resist.” “We’re having a baby so I have to stop resisting.” “I’m applying for a loan so I have to stop resisting.” “The IRS just took my bank account so I have to stop resisting.” “I like the idea but I can’t risk my job by becoming a war tax resister.” I don’t want to be snooty and judgmental about it. People hit a wall and feel there is no way around it for all kinds […]

War Tax Resistance beyond the 2020 elections

At the last NWTRCC national gathering in May 2020, some of our members suggested having a study group to look at issues emerging during COVID-19. The group has met weekly and has discussed a variety of issues over the past months—mostly as it relates to militarism. In recent weeks the conversations have been focused on the elections. People have expressed concerns about the peaceful transfer of power, voter suppression, and armed groups at polling places or potentially in the streets resisting election results.  A component of the study group is sharing articles and resources with each other that encourage reflection, discussion, and action. We wanted to share some reflections on the upcoming election and resources (that you can find at […]

Dr. Strangelove II: What’s the Subtitle?

“We don’t pay taxes. The little people do.” Much of the scandal around Trump and his taxes has less to do with how little he paid and more to do with how pervasive tax avoidance is among the wealthy. It is estimated that 70% of all underpayment of taxes is by the 1%. If they were audited or investigated by the IRS, the result would be $1 trillion in a decade. As it stands now, the area with the highest audits are in rural Mississippi where three-quarters of the population is Black and more than one-third live below the poverty line.  It appears that there is a two tiered tax system that is exacerbating the gulf between those who milk […]

Financial State of NWTRCC & Bequest Campaign

Unless you attend NWTRCC’s bi-annual business meeting or check out our annual reports, you might not be aware of NWTRCC’s financial situation. NWTRCC runs on a shoe-string budget. Our expenses last year were just over $58,000. Around 70% of our expenses—or about $42,000—were used to pay for NWTRCC’s two consultants. The remainder of the expenses were used to fund our biannual meetings, newsletter, website, and to keep our materials up-to-date. The website has definitely become our most highly utilized resource, with over 38,000 unique visitors checking out the NWTRCC site so far in 2020. (The average visitor looks at 9 different pages on our website.) To help meet these expenses and make NWTRCC as helpful as possible to war tax […]

U.S. Tax History- It Doesn’t Repeat Itself, But It Often Rhymes

women holding signs above their heads while gathered outside

Like many of you, I found it easy to get lost in the Trump tax troves published in the New York Times last Sunday. I felt a feverish attempt to scour through it to find some of the starker elements and decipher how it relates to war tax resistance. Some of the long anticipated information that had been shrouded in secrecy was available to all. I was curious about the details of how the supposed “leader of the free world” was able to game the U.S. tax system, but I was also curious as to how the general public would respond to this new information. It seemed many realized that those with money bent the tax laws to benefit themselves.  […]

Planning Ahead

“What Will You Do if Trump Doesn’t Leave?” was the title of a September 3 op-ed by New York Times conservative columnist (but no fan of the current president) David Brooks. In it he says, If Trump claims a victory that is not rightly his, a few marches in the streets will not be an adequate response. There may have to be a sustained campaign of civic action, as in Hong Kong and Belarus, to rally the majority that wants to preserve democracy, that isolates those who would undo it. Letters-to-the-editor ran in response on Sunday, September 20. In one letter from a Stuart Esten in Burlington, Massachusetts, he dismissed legal action or street protests as being “hopeless” and “ineffective” […]

Sick of War

NWTRCC is hosting a war tax resistance 101 on Tuesday September 22 as part of Campaign Nonviolence’s Peace Week.  The session will provide information to people who are interested in divesting their tax money from the Pentagon and investing in their communities. The session will focus on empowering people to take action against military spending by presenting the various approaches to WTR and the potential consequences, as well as noting the many resources available to support this direct action against increased militarism impacting our communities. Please consider sharing on your social media platforms or with someone in your life who has expressed interest in WTR, but would like to get more information. This Zoom is for them! It seems that […]

Taxes, Relationships, and Competing Priorities

Since I began thinking about war tax resistance I’ve been struggling with the desire to reduce my income to avoid paying taxes for things I find abhorrent and, simultaneously, wanting to transfer more of my power (in the form of money) to organizations and individuals doing good. My mind keeps coming back these questions: Should I make less and give less money to good works/people, but also pay less into the war machine? Should I make more and give more money to good works/people and hope that my giving outweighs the increase in tax payments? If I can’t drastically reduce or eliminate my tax burden then is refusing to pay a portion of what I owe an option for me? […]

Can You Keep War Bonds Out of Your Socially-Responsible Investments?

a treasury bond

The U.S. government borrows money by selling Treasury bonds and other similar securities (“treasuries”). Much of the money it borrows in this way goes to the military, so people who do not want to help finance the military will want to avoid investing in such bonds. Earlier this year, a war tax resister contacted me. She was concerned about avoiding such bonds in her retirement account and was having a hard time finding good places to put her money. Even the so-called “socially responsible” exchange-traded funds and mutual funds seemed to include such bonds in their holdings. Some Overseas Funds Screen Out Treasuries She also pointed me to this Bloomberg article: “ESG Hardliners Blacklist $16 Trillion U.S. Treasuries Market”. According to […]

Note to Self: Change Can Come

Yesterday I had a lovely swim in the ocean with friends who had rented a beach house for a couple weeks. What a privilege to float on my back looking up at the blue sky or to watch the sanderlings skittering along the perfect sand beach. Nature is awe-inspiring. Today I’m back at the computer, starting the day off with a dose of a different reality from Democracy Now and other news sources. In the face of all that… …I’m thinking about the courage of so many nonviolent activists who are out there in the streets, across the country, day after day demanding change in the face of many dangers — now including the guns of white supremacists. …I’m looking […]