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Posts tagged Tax Day

ALL I need to know about taxes is what I learned on the street

Today, Tax Day, marked the first public action of the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left. Here are the flyers we posted today.

Flyer:
How Government Works (#1)
Flyer:
How Government Works (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For Torture (#2)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#1)
Flyer:
Taxes Pay For War (#2)
Flyer:
Your Money Or Your Life!
Flyer:
Your Tax Dollars At Work (#1)
Flyer:
Your Tax Dollars At Work (#2)

Here’s the communiqué I wrote to go along with the flyers, because I like that kind of goofy shit.

Communiqué #1

This is the first communiqué from the Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left.

Today, April 15th, guerrilla educators affiliated with Southern Nevada ALL struck targets in the streets of southeastern Las Vegas and on the UNLV campus. Flyers—with slogans including Taxes Pay For Torture, Taxes Pay For War, and Your Money Or Your Life,—were raised to reach out to unwilling taxpayers and potential new ALLies, and to raise public consciousness about taxes.

On the filing deadline for 2007’s federal income tax—when countless honest working folks are sick of meddlesome government—when they are tired of being forced to fill out complex forms—and when they are forced to take (on average) 30% of the money that they worked to earn in the previous year and render it as tribute to the United States federal government—against their will, and whether or not they approve of what the government will do with the money—we have a perfect opportunity to spread our message about the violence of government taxation.

Taxes mean violence, both at the point of collection, and at the point of government spending. Collecting taxes is inherently violent because taxpayers are forced to pay the government whether or not they want to, under the threat of government violence. Those who refuse to turn over the money are subjected to government fines, confiscation of their homes and effects, or locked away in prison. It must never be forgotten that anything is funded by taxes could have been funded voluntarily, if enough people could have been convinced to donate the money willingly, or to give it freely in exchange for something that they get in return. In the last analysis, there is no reason to fund a project by taxation unless there is no honest and peaceful way to persuade people to support that project voluntarily. But if there is no honest and peaceful way to fund something, then it should not be funded. Taxation ought to be considered the last resort of the scoundrel and the thug. Morally, there is no difference between tax collection and highway robbery.

But the violence of taxation is even worse than the violence of highway robbery—for while the robber takes your money violently to satisfy his own greed, and then leaves you alone, the tiny handful of people who constitute the the ruling faction of the federal government take your money violently, and then they use that money to fund yet more violence — whether by locking nonviolent drug users away in government prisons, or in the form of police brutality, or in the use of torture by government intelligence agencies in the name of National Security, or in the form of government wars and occupations. The government’s ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already cost more than half a trillion dollars, and which cost millions of dollars more with every passing day, and the onlyem> reason that this government can afford to continue with their occupation and their bombings, long after the majority of people in the United States have concluded that the wars are hopeless and fundamentally wrong, is that tiny handful of people have the power to force the millions of us who are against these wars to fund them anyway, against our will and in violation of our own conscience. Taxes pay for police brutality. Taxes pay for torture. Taxes paid for Guantanamo. Taxes paid for Abu Ghraib. Taxes pay for war. And when taxes pay for something, what that really means is that unwilling victims, including you and me, are forced to pay for it even if they don’t think that it is worthwhile. Even when they think that it is abhorrent to their own beliefs.

We believe that there is another way. Southern Nevada ALL is working to raise public awareness, and to work towards a new, consensual society, in which no-one will be forced to pay for torture or war, and in which working folks will be able to keep what they have earned, rather than being forced to turn it over to be used at the whim of the violent minority faction known as the United States federal government. We are starting small, and we are starting here, because that is what we have, and this is where we live. We ask that everyone in Southern Nevada who believes in peace, voluntary co-operation, mutual aid, and individual liberty join us in our struggle.

—ALLy C.J., 15 April 2008.

The Southern Nevada Alliance of the Libertarian Left can be reached through its website, sonv.libertarianleft.org, or through its e-mail list ALLSouthernNevada.

This is phase 1 (or maybe version 0.1) of organizing an ALL chapter in southern Nevada. Our next step is to meet any new ALLies we may find, start talking about plans, and prepare some more (hopefully eye-catching) flyers, handbills, and pamphlets to spread the word. (For example, distributing some copies of William Gillis’s excellent Market Anarchy zine series, and some other pamphlet-length articles similarly formatted, hopefully to get them circulating amongst local anarchists, libertarians, and peace people.) After that, to begin talking about local networking, informal gatherings, on-the-ground activism, and spinning off affinity groups and longer-term projects. I think that global popular revolution is scheduled for sometime after next March.

If you’re interested, and you’re in (or know people in, or are just interested in) the area of Las Vegas and southern Nevada, consider joining the e-mail list. If you enjoy the flyers, you’re free to take them, modify them as necessary, and re-use them as you see fit.

Onward.

Happy tax season, Twinky

Just a reminder that you have just under two more weeks to submit the annual accounting of yourself to the State. Do be sure to turn over any of the tribute that you haven’t rendered yet for the privilege of working for a living without being locked in a cage for the next several years of your life. All that protection isn’t free, and the government will be protecting the hell out of you in the upcoming year whether you asked for it or not.

In honor of the event, here’s Monday’s re-run of Calvin and Hobbes, courtesy of GoComics:

Moe: Hey Calvin, it’s gonna cost you 50 cents to be my friend today.

Calvin: (indignantly) And what if I don’t want to be your friend today?

Moe: (smiling) Then the janitor scrapes you off the wall with a spatula.

Calvin: (aside) Heck, what’s a little extortion among friends?

Further reading:

Simple solutions to difficult dilemmas

A week ago over at the Mises Institute, Lee Wishing ran into a touchy ethical dilemma: it turns out that this year he will be netting $646, transferred from other people’s pockets to his, courtesy of the behind-the-scenes number juggling of TurboTax and the IRS’s refundable child tax credit for his family’s four children:

Line 43 of our 1040 shows that the tax on our income is $3,354. Line 51 notes that the child credit is $3,354 making the total credits, line 55, offset our tax liability.

But my zero tax liability isn’t the point of this story. I really have a negative tax liability. The federal government will not only return the money I had withheld during the year, they’ll be kicking in another $646, which is the difference between the total of the child tax credits on line 55, $4,000, and my tax liability of $3,354 on line 43.

Believe it or not, the federal government is going to give me $646 of your money. The formula on Form 8812–the Additional Child Tax Credit form–that determines I get an extra pile of dough is complex. I checked the calculation and it was correct. I called a tax accountant and he said it was correct.

But is it right?

My six-year-old daughter, Mary, asked me what I was writing about.

I explained the concept: I just filled out our tax forms and I learned that the federal government will be giving us money that doesn’t belong to us. They will be taking it from other people and giving it to us.

That’s not right! said my first-grader.

Eight-year-old daughter Sarah was listening. I don’t like that. I mean, I don’t like that the government is going to take money from other people and give it to us, she said sadly.

Gosh, that’s clear thinking. But the tax system blurs clear thinking.

— Lee Wishing, Mises Institute (2005-04-05): 1040 Plunder

Blurs it enough, I guess, that Lee doesn’t come to any resolution by the end of the article, even with young Mary and Sarah’s prodding. However, I wrote my friend Dr. Anarchy for advice, and she pointed out that there is a simple solution to Lee’s problem. Lee’s worried because the federal government took money from other people against their will, and now they’re giving some of it to him. What to about the double burden of a guilty conscience and $646.00 he doesn’t deserve?

Simple. I’ll take it.

I am one of those unfortunate taxpayers out of whose pockets Lee’s $646 was taken. He can solve his problem by sending $646.00 to me, Charles Johnson. I’d be glad to send copies of the 1040s to prove my net liability to the Feds over the past few years: this year I’ll be coughing up $156 in taxes and fees. Last year I paid about $350 all told. My forms for 2002 are back in Auburn, but I am sure that I rendered at least $140 of tribute to the federal government. So by sending me, Charles Johnson, $646, Lee can not only solve his ethical dilemma and save face in front of his young daughters, and help out someone who (as you might guess from the low bills) would be glad to get the money back, he can also make his own contribution to rectifying the injustices of Leviathan.

You might say that any other taxpayer has just as good a claim to Lee’s $646 as I do. True, but Lee can’t afford to pay them all, and $646 is all the restitution he’s on the hook for–the rest of his tax refund is just getting his own money back. Why not try to distribute it evenly between all the net tax recipients? There’s hundreds of millions of them; trying to split $646 between all of them would mean that, effectively, no-one gets any of their expropriated money back on the margin. But by giving it all to me, Charles Johnson, Lee can ensure that two people are restored to a state of libertarian justice: he won’t have his expropriated gains anymore, and by giving the block of money to me I’ll be set back to where I was before I paid out taxes for the past 3 years. What’s so special about me specifically? Well, I could use the money, and it was my idea. The rest of you can find some other net tax recipient with a guilty conscience and homestead a claim to your money from their surplus.

What an opportunity for Lee: he’s just $646 away from libertarian justice. I’m glad to help him out. It won’t take any ballot boxes and it won’t take any political parties; all he needs to do is join a nonviolent direct action against State expropriation. I gladly accept credit cards, cash, or electronic funds transfers.

Happy Tax Day.

Death and Taxes

Posting on Geekery Today may be held up for a while in the next several days, as I grudgingly prepare the paperwork for my annual surrender of tribute to the State.

In honor of the occasion, though, you can follow my argument on Slashdot with Shakrai, who castigates those who would dare to cheat the State of its booty. Since I argue that taxation is nothing more than robbery with more paperwork, I can’t muster much outrage at those who lie to the taxman in order to keep some of their own damn money (thank you very much!).

For what it’s worth, while I don’t see anything morally wrong in cheating on your taxes, that doesn’t mean that I do it; since I make most of my money through self-employment I no doubt look pretty suspicious to the IRS from the get-go, and I have no desire to encourage them to come along and help me get my finances in order by being less than scrupulous in my reporting. It just goes to show that while nothing immoral could count as expedient, lots of things that are morally permissible are still not particularly smart. Such is life in this possible world.

photo: Donald Rumsfeld
photo: Evil Lord Skeletor

In international news, Donald Evil Lord Skeletor Rumsfeld has announced that the situation in Iraq is not out of control. Meanwhile, in Iraq, your tax dollars are hard at work:

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) U.S. Marines battled insurgents for control of this Sunni Muslim stronghold Wednesday, calling in airstrikes against a mosque compound where witnesses said dozens were killed in six hours of fighting. An anti-U.S. uprising led by a radical Shiite cleric raged for the fourth day in southern cities.

The Abdel-Aziz al-Samarrai mosque was hit by U.S. aircraft that launched a Hellfire missile at its minaret and dropped a 500-pound bomb on a wall surrounding the compound.

The U.S. military said insurgents were using the mosque for a military fire base. Iraqi witnesses estimated 40 people were killed as they gathered for afternoon prayers. U.S. officials said no civilians died.

An Associated Press reporter who went to the mosque said the minaret was standing, but damaged, apparently by shrapnel. The bomb blew away part of a wall, opening an entry for the Marine assault. The reporter saw at least three cars leaving, each with a number of dead and wounded.

Chaos spreads, people are murdered, and you and I are forced to foot the bill for a war that many of us wanted absolutely no part of. Sooner or later there will be a reckoning for the terrible destruction that is being wrought on Iraq; I can only hope against hope that terrorist logic will not win the day, and that we will not be forced to face the consequences yet again for things that other people decided to do–using stolen money and professing to act on our behalf.

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