Hindsight, Looking Forward with 2020 Vision

As 2020 comes to a close, it seems like a good time to look back to where we have been; have clear eyes about where we are headed in order to forge a new path. By January 15th 2021, 5,ooo total U.S. troops are poised to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan.  After a height of 170,000 troops in Iraq and 100,000 troops in Afghanistan and over 19 years of war this appears to be welcome news to the longest ongoing war in U.S. history. A former Marine captain wrote “Two Costly Wars and a Legacy of Shame” in the New York Times that the US Defense Department alone spent $6 trillion dollars “costing each American taxpayer an estimate more than […]

Don’t Pay for What You Don’t Want

Nelson Homestead

“I don’t want to pay for what I don’t want. I won’t buy what I don’t want. I’m that way with everything. So, why not war? I don’t want it either…” — Juanita Nelson on Democracy Now! During this season of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, big online retailer vans and trucks crowding streets and highways, advertisements for all manner of plastic stuff, etc., it’s a great time to remember Wally and Juanita Nelson. They lived lives centered around their belief in nonviolence as a way of life, a belief that led Wally to prison for refusing to fight in WWII. A belief that led the couple to refuse to pay taxes for war. A belief that evolved to an exemplary […]

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 […]

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” […]

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? […]

Restructure the Pentagon, Not the Post Office

The same section of the Constitution that established the military also instituted post offices and post roads. The United States Postal Services remains one of the few government agencies authorized by the Constitution and it remains an independent organization within the executive branch of the federal government. Established 245 years ago with Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General, the United States Postal Service has provided people throughout the United States a delivery service consistent in price and quality. While much of the service has remained the same, the policy around the United States Postal Services (USPS) has shifted in recent years as some have expressed desires to privatize the independent federal agency. Constitution Article I Section 8 begins by […]

Bewildering Federal Budget

I recently read a guest editorial in my local newspaper that noted the startling fact that there is a “$437 million budget for the military’s 130 marching bands.” Setting aside the question of why each band needs to cost over $3 million, this fact got me interested in taking a look at federal budget priorities compared to mine. As a Quaker (we are known for our peace witness and works), I have long been aware that the U.S. budget is heavily tilted towards war. The War Resisters League pie chart shows that military and veterans’ services totaled 48% of the 2018 U.S. budget. The National Priorities Project shows the 2020 budget as allocating 55% for the military. For this budget, […]

Tax Day Press Release July 2020

NWTRCC friends and supporters, Below is our press release for Tax Day, 15 July 2020. Feel free to adjust it for your own use. If you are having a tax day action, but have not alerted the NWTRCC office, please email the details to nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org, or use the online form. As stated in the press release, we are asking war tax resisters to make their presence felt on the streets (if possible) and online on July 15th. When posting online, please use the hashtags, #NoTaxes4War and #NWTRCC. Writing these “hashtags” with your message will mean that anyone can find your post on Facebook or Twitter by searching “#NoTaxes4War” or “#NWTRCC.” When posting a picture or graphic, also let folks know […]

Tax Day 2020- As Movements Converge

yard sign with Put People First printed on it; a hen in the grass behind the sign

The longest tax season is coming to a close on July 15th.  The 3 month extension has allowed for more opportunities to share information about the  bloated military budget during a time of growing human needs in the US. A couple of articles (Meet the People Who Refuse to Pay Their Taxes & Meet a New Generation of Tax Resisters Refusing to Pay for War ) and have helped get the word of war tax resistance to a wider audience. While many communities have utilized Tax Day as an opportunity to raise awareness about the federal budget, we know that the work extends beyond this one day. While tax day is soon to pass, conversations about where we place our […]