Considering the history of the Infernal Revenue Siphon (IRS), you’d think folks would be more inclined towards securing their own liberties that much more, but sadly, such is not the case. Garden-variety statists willfully ignore the disastrous products of their own making, yet their only response is to somehow reform the beast. Softening the never ending violations of the Self-Ownership Axiom is insufficient for achieving freedom; nothing less than total abolishment is going to solve the problem.
So-called “leftists” or “progressives” resist paying war taxes not because they are anti-statist in any real way, but because they simply disagree with how the State allocates the stolen loot. Unfortunately, they do not understand fundamental property rights, thus they cannot conceive of the truth that taxation is nothing other than theft. More ideologically consistent tax resistors include constitutional minarchists, who argue that the federal income tax is unconstitutional, as well as libertarian anarchists, who reject the legitimacy of the State because of its inherent tyrannical nature, which makes it completely incompatible with Liberty.
American tax resistance history begins even before the Revolutionary War for Independence. The Quakers become famous for their pacifism, which necessarily required that they couldn’t support the subjugation of others, even if only financially. Henry Thoreau spent a night in jail because he refused to pay a Massachusetts poll tax levied on behalf of the 1846 Mexican-American War. Opposition to American involved in the Vietnam War reinvigorated modern war tax resistance efforts. With the advent of the phony War on Terror (if anything, it is really the War on Freedom), and the subsequent military adventures abroad (such as the War in Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the illegal bombing of Libya), resisting paying war taxes has become more important than ever before, especially considering the death tolls and property destruction.
The military budget of the United States is very revealing. According to this pie chart on U.S. Federal Spending for Fiscal Year 2010 (as expressed in the billions of dollars), war spending comprises 20% of the federal budget ($689,000,000,000 of the $3,456,000,000,000 total). Interestingly enough, federal spending on the so-called “social security” Ponzi scheme is also 20% of the budget, at $701,000,000,000; the other “social insurance” scams of Medicare and Medicaid take up a whopping 23% of the budget, at $793,000,000,000. However, this is not intended to diminish proving the case of funding for war, for according to this bar graph on US Defense Spending Trends between 2000 – 2011 (as expressed in the billions of dollars), military spending has increased from ~ $300,000,000,000 to over $700,000,000,000. Also, this color coded map of the world shows that American military expenditures comprise 4% of its GDP. I don’t remember any of the Founders being in favor of having America acting as the policeman of the world.
Whether or not particular methods of tax noncompliance constitute civil disobedience depends on if mala prohibita was violated or not. Techniques of tax avoidance (such as giving up U.S. citizenship, transferring assets to corporate intermediaries, and using tax shelters), as well as living below the income tax threshold (which is ~ $13,000/yr), are aimed at legally circumventing the tax code by using the government’s own statutes against itself; however, history has shown that such measures only mitigate one’s own (albeit unwitting) complicity with what is the health of the State, and even then, they are only minutely successful and come at great expense in terms of effort and sacrifice. While it is ironic that liberal statists seriously recommend fiscal conservatism as part of the repertoire to resist funding imperialistic wars of aggression, being responsible for your own personal finances should be done for the right reasons, not out of some misguided notion that lowering your standard of living or playing corporate asset shell games is going to somehow stop, or even slow down, the military-industrial complex.
IRS agents love to pursue those “delinquent” taxpayers who play games with “failing” to file a 1040 or even those attempting to control their own withholding on the W-4 form. Redirecting the same amount of taxes you “owe” to a charity does not appease the beast, as some liberal statists have painfully discovered. The same could be said for refusal to pay some taxes while agreeing to pay others; this stems from the flawed misunderstanding about the very nature of taxation, for the misconception the liberal statists have here was that it was somehow voluntary. Claiming tax deductions on things that don’t really exist, with the intention of getting your withholding tax liability down to zero, is perceived as tax evasion. Being paid “off the books” solely in cash, which negates the record keeping that would typically accompany mainline employment, is considered by the IRS as evading income tax filing. All of these forms of violating mala prohibita are noticeably more effective that those that aren’t, however, IRS agents “make a living” enforcing them against those they deem to be “tax cheats.”
Ed Hedemann’s War Tax Resistance: A Guide to Withholding Your Support From the Military, while filled with liberal statist propaganda, seriously examines what it would take to resist tax collection. Of course, I don’t see any reason why tax resistance has to be limited to war taxes; the whole machinery of the State is inimical to human liberty anyway. If liberal statists ever decided to escape The Left-Right Paradigm, they would begin to understand that it’s not just taxes that undermine our wealth, but also inflation and debt, primarily through fractional reserve lending. Worst of all, it has been admitted by former Federal Reserve Bank of New York Chairman Beardsley Ruml that:
“The dollars the government spends become purchasing power in the hands of the people who have received them. The dollars the government takes by taxes cannot be spent by the people, and, therefore, these dollars can no longer be used to acquire the things which are available for sale. Taxation is, therefore, an instrument of the first importance in the administration of any fiscal and monetary policy.”
In other words, the government doesn’t even need taxation to fund itself. It is now just simply a method of social engineering. Considering the grovelling of the adults around me as I was growing up when it came to taxes, I can honestly say, as an eyewitness, that it works devastatingly well.