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More Than a Paycheck is the bimonthly publication of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee, a clearinghouse and resource center for the conscientious war tax resistance movement in the United States. NWTRCC is a coalition of local, regional, and national affiliate groups working on war tax related issues.
NWTRCC Mission Statement: NWTRCC sees poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, economic exploitation, environmental destruction, and militarization of law enforcement as integrally linked with the militarism which we abhor. Through the redirection of our tax dollars, NWTRCC members contribute directly to the struggle for peace and justice for all.
February 2003. HEADLINES IN THIS ISSUE:
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The group APRODIM, which is a partner in a sister city project between Jena, Germany, and San Marcos, Nicaragua, asked for help in initiating a project regarding this law. The law required that special efforts be made to publicize the law to the population and particularly to the persons affected. The project was started 1st August 2001 with financial support from groups in Germany.
First a project office was opened in San Marcos to give people seeking help an opportunity to turn to competent advisers to express their concerns and to discuss the next steps.
Community teams were formed for advanced training in the communities and districts and they held 6 to 10 education meetings each. In all, about 150 women and men have been educated about the law, and they received further material on the subject. More than 100 talks took place in other venues.
In all, 225 cases have been submitted to the project, 180 of them being related to the objectives of the Center. Of those cases, 128 have been looked after.
An evaluation was made after the expiration of the first project phase. In addition to the numbers of cases where successful legal assistance was given, the great response within the communities has been impressive. The general objectives of the project have been achieved. The introduction of this subject into the discussions within the communities can be evaluated as a substantial result with long-term effects. The 84 cases of domestic violence legally assisted and solved were exemplary. These cases have an exemplary effect, in particular within the scope of the small communities.
Based on the positive results of the first phase of the project together with the project partner APRODIM, it has been decided to continue the project. At present PROMUJER is able to work for one more year. The Franciscan Mission Head Office in Bonn, Germany will finance the project. It is hoped that the Peace Tax and War Tax Resistance organizations will help in the continuation of the project.
Contact and information (till March 31): Brunhilde Stoetzner, Kirchgasse 50, D-99439 Ramsla, GERMANY telephone/fax: +49(0)36452-72261, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org After March 31: email@example.com
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War, the National Debt, Taxes, and the Creation of Money
by Jay Sordean
Thanks to Jay Sordean for submitting this article. We are running it in two parts.
WTRS are well aware of the relationship of taxes to war. Understanding the economics behind taxes and war can be simple or complex, depending upon the degree of analysis. The GDP/GNP; percentages of U.S. federal discretionary funds spent on military purposes; the history of national debt linked to funding wars; the creation and use of central banks; the history of the corporate and personal income taxes; tariffs, and other taxes are all components of the more complex analysis of how taxes are related to war. A couple of books I have been reading recently that shed some light on these and other issues are Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country by William Greider, Hamilton's Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt by John Steele Gordon, and The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, by G. Edward Griffin.
The comments in this article are based on information from these three books.
"The United States was born in debt. Wars have been fought with borrowed money at least since Rome instituted the practice." (Hamilton's). It is also wisely stated that "while individual battles may be decided by tactics, firepower, courage, and -- of course-- luck, victory goes to the side better able to turn the national wealth to military purposes...(and) that usually means the ability to borrow.^T (Hamilton^Rs). In both peace and war, governments usually have only three ways to pay their bills: they can print, they can tax, and they can borrow. Central banks help carry out those roles. On the other hand, during the Civil War, both sides soon resorted to the quickest way for a sovereign state to obtain money: the printing press. And it was the inability of the South to collect or borrow enough money to sustain its efforts that ultimately was a significant factor in its loss.
The three main purposes to a central bank are 1) acting as a depository and distribution system for government funds, 2) as a source of loans to the government, and 3) regulating the money supply by controlling printing. The original banking system was based on a system where bank notes would be redeemable in gold and silver on demand and acceptable by the federal government in payment of taxes. The central bank, under Alexander Hamilton's concepts, was under private versus public direction -- under the guidance of individual interest and not under public policy. Hamilton did not think politicians could be trusted with the power to print money; and to make sure the private owners of the bank didn't pursue private interests at public expense, he wanted the central bank's charter to require that its notes be redeemable in specie (ie., gold or silver).
Historically, there have been several contentious, fundamental issues related to banking and money. Jefferson had a deep or visceral hatred of banks; both he and Andrew Jackson believed in dispersing power away from those at the top of society and toward the ordinary people. They also believed that paper money was a fraud. They said that specie was the way to control money. On the other hand, it is also said that no country on the gold standard can fight a great war for very long. There are people today who identify with this hatred of banks, and the fact that the Constitution nowhere specifically authorizes establishment of a central bank has led to a line of reasoning that is called "strict construction." Thus, this issue of a specie (gold or silver) backing for money and distrust of fiat money has always been a contentious debate among the learned.
The use of a central bank has been contentious as well in some circles. In the U.S., the central bank is "the government's principal mechanism for collecting internal revenue and its only one for raising loans" (Hamilton's). Thus, sentiment for or against war can have a strong influence on the success of a central bank in raising funds for the war effort. For example, during the War of 1812 the sentiment against the war was strongest in those port cities (namely, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston) whose richest citizens were best able to loan money to the government. Interestingly, it can also be said that "one of the natural principles of taxation...is that the people willingly pay very high taxes during wartime." (Hamilton's)
Now let's put it all together, "Federal Reserve" and "Note." So a FRN is a promise by the Federal Reserve Bank to pay you (the bearer of the FRN) money if you turn in an FRN. "But isn^Rt a FRN 'money' already?" you might ask. Well, nobody said this topic was simple. The definition of "money", according to Black's Law Dictionary is "the medium of exchange authorized or adopted by a government as part of its currency [coins and currency are money]." Other relevant definitions under money are "paper money" and "fiat money." Paper money is "paper documents that circulate as currency; bills drawn by a government against its own credit." Fiat money is "paper currency not backed by gold or silver." Thus, FRNs are both fiat money and paper money. And because the FRNs are not backed by gold or silver, there is theoretically no limit as to the amount of them that could be produced and circulated in the economy. As they say, they are backed by the ^Sfull faith and credit of the U.S. government^T and not by gold or silver or some other precious metal or commodity. And as WTRs know, the FRNs can be used to pay taxes, putting them also in the category of "lawful money," "money that is legal tender for the payments of debts." "When governments issue fiat money, they always declare it to be legal tender under pain of fine or imprisonment. The only way a government can exchange its worthless paper money for tangible goods and services is to give its citizens no choice." (Creature) Legal tender simply means that there is a law requiring everyone to accept the currency in commerce.
To be continued in the next issue of More than a Paycheck
For the complete article with citations, contact Jay at DrSordean@cs.com with "NWTRCC article" in the subject heading, or contact the NWTRCC office.
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A bow of gratitude to the following groups that have given since our last newsletter. Your support makes a difference!
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO -- a national group based in California)
Lehigh Valley WTR Life Fund (PA)
New England War Tax Resistance
Southern Arizona War Tax Refusers
Bethesda Friends Meeting (MD)
War Resisters League
Wespac Foundation (NY)
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Network List Updates
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War Tax Resistance Ideas & Actions
It's that time of year again, time when the general population starts thinking about its tax dollars. And time for us wtrs to step up our efforts in getting the word out about war tax resistance. With the imminent war in Iraq, and the ongoing lwar on terrorismn causing huge increases in military spending, this is an important time to show opposition to these policies. Here is a list of tools to help in that effort. Thanks to Joanne Sheehan at the New England War Resisters League (WRL) office for compiling this list!
Network with other groups at regular anti-war vigils, with a focus on taxes and the military budget around April 15th, if you haven't already planned a tax day event. You don't need huge numbers of people to have a visible presence at the post office as people pay their taxes. Here are some ideas and resources you can use:
Number One is of course WRL's handy pie chart, with its breakdown of military spending--the government deception, as well as how the dollars are really spent. It also includes a section on "What You Can Do." It is available on-line at http://www.warresisters.org or can be ordered from War Resisters League, 212/228-0450.
Ideas for organizing abound! You can take these resources, along with any you might create yourself and leaflet at your local post office on April 15th as people come to mail their tax returns. Or you can go to a place in your community that could use more funding from the government--a school or community center or hospital--and leaflet there as well, a strong way of saying, "Money for education (or health care or whatever) not for war!" A walk from a weapons facility to a community program that lacks funds is another way to show people who gets the money and who doesnmt. You don't need to have an IRS office to have a good place to raise the issue.
Use your creativity. It's an effective tool in getting attention and forcing people to think, and it makes things a lot more fun and colorful! This is also an important opportunity to reach out to community groups that are suffering from budget cuts; or to do work with people concerned about local housing issues; or to engage youth programs on the issue of government spending.
Try conducting a penny poll where passersby can express their opinions about the uses of tax dollars and federal budget priorities. Get a table and make up several clear glasses or tubes and label them with categories of government spending--for example--education, environment, healthcare, housing, and oh yeah, the military. The narrower the container the better, as the pennies will pile up more clearly. Give people who would like to participate ten pennies and invite them to distribute them in the containers according to the way they would like to see their tax dollar spent. You can do this for however long you want to be out there while leafleting or vigiling. When you are through, you can publicize the results in a press release or letter to the editor of your local paper.
Have a bake sale using the theme (and poster) "It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Navy has to hold a bake sale to buy a battleship!" (poster available at WRL) Change it to fit your local needs. Folks in Des Moines do this every year, giving the proceeds to the underfunded alternative high school.
Give out pie with your pie charts: pieces of pizza pie or dessert pie. You can add a little theater by having a "representative" of a weapons corporation "eating" most of the pie while others get only tiny slices.
Turn the tax pie chart into a large circular poster. Have large banners rather than lots of small ones that are hard to read as people rush by.
Use props or costumes to gain attention: Puppets of Iraqi mothers and babies, or women dressed as Iraqi mothers dying. Or with a sign saying "Them = Us" or "There is no them" or another message to get people to think about who we are killing with our tax dollars.
Have a die-in (which can be done legally or as civil disobedience), showing what happens when the weapons are used.
Go to a budget hearing at City Council or Board of Education to talk about the federal budget. Do a penny poll before and bring the results. People tend to fight taxes by going to the closest tax collector -- cutting school budgets rather than military budgets.
Use the local media; it's a good way to get your message out! Write a letter to the editor or call a local talk radio show to talk about the way you'd like to see your tax dollars spent. Let them know that your demonstration will include a "photo opportunity" such as the penny poll, costumes, etc.
WRL also has a brochure entitled "A Call to War Tax Resistance," which NWTRCC uses as its basic flyer. It's a good introduction to basic tax resistance issues and lists some resources as well. For a sample copy, contact our office or their office.
WRL's Web page has a whole section devoted to war tax resistance. http://www.warresisters.org. The National Priorities Project also has resources on budget expenditures at www.nationalpriorities.org.
Check out June issues of More Than a Paycheck for reports on tax day events for other ideas. It goes without saying that all of NWTRCC's resources are devoted to talking about taxes, all year mround!
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The Sonoma County Taxes for Peace group will be hostessing NWTRCC's spring Coordinating Committee meeting May 16-18, 2003, in Santa Rosa, California. Please note that we have departed from our usual meeting date of the first weekend in May!
The group is looking for a theme to help tie the weekend together. If any of you has an idea, or suggestions for workshops, please contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 707/823-9203. They hope to devote a lot of the time to building ties among war tax resisters, and will of course be welcoming to those new people interested in war tax resistance. The weekend will run from Friday evening through Sunday midday. NWTRCC will hold its business meeting on Sunday morning. People are welcome for all or part of the weekend.
They suggest flying into either San Francisco or Oakland. They will try to help with transportation, but some folks may have to take a bus or airport shuttle. They will be printing a flyer within the next month, which will go out to folks on the west coast.
This will be the first meeting for the new coordinator, and Mary Loehr will be present also, so it may be a bigger meeting than usual. Consider joining us!
For more information, or for a registration form, contact the NWTRCC office.
Tax protest is not new. In 1773 a group of colonists sent a message to the governing authorities by dressing as Indians, boarding a ship and dumping tea into the harbor. This tax protest became known as the Boston Tea Party and became one of the turning points in US history. In the colonistsm view, taxes were imposed upon them without their approval or consent. They felt these taxes violated their conscience and liberty.
In modern history we, as US citizens, have been forced without our consent to pay for nuclear weapons and an arms race that violates our conscience and liberty. Today we must send a similar message to the governing authorities, such as the celebrated historical act of the early colonists. We resent and deplore being forced, year after year to pay for a military defense strategy as counterproductive as the nuclear arms race. We want our tax money to be used to meet human needs, such as housing, medical care, education and public transportation.
Send this message to the IRS by including in your tax return a tea bag, the clip-off message below and a letter expressing your own personal view. Together we can initiate the Colorado Tea Party!
The enclosed tea bag is a symbol of tax protest. Our ancestors dumped tea into the Boston harbor to protest taxes that violated their conscience and dignity. Today we are being forced to pay taxes for nuclear weapons and an arms race that violates our conscience and dignity. We protest.
Bonus question: Which condition did he not break?
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Local Group Reports
"During the past year, I have prayed for peace on Earth in almost every church in Nelson County. My Bible tells me to 'Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and unto God what belongs to God.'
"On Tax Day, shall I render a war tax to Caesar to help pay for nuclear bombs, star wars, and other weapons of mass destruction that will be used to kill innocent civilians in Iraq and elsewhere? Or shall I render a peace tax to Caesar to be used to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, house the homeless, heal the sick, and educate the ignorant throughout the world?
"On Saturday, January 18, 2003 mass demonstrations in opposition to making war on Iraq are scheduled in Washington, DC and major cities throughout the US. I am planning to be outside the Lovingston Post Office from 10:00 AM to Noon on January 18 to listen to what my Nelson neighbors may wish to say about Bush's determination to make war on Iraq.
"A Public Penny Poll will be held. An American flag and a Whole Earth flag will be displayed from a single flagstaff. There will be a sign that reads, 'Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and unto God what belongs to God' and another that says, 'Tax Money Talks.'
"There will be two glass jars, one labeled 'War Tax' and the other labeled 'Peace Tax.'
"The 'War Tax' jar will indicate payment for nuclear bombs, Star Wars, and making war on Iraq. It will have a photograph of President Bush in a white shirt addressing a group of soldiers with black berets.
"The 'Peace Tax' jar will indicate payment for food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education throughout the world. It will have a blue sign with blinking red lights and white doves inviting voters to become Peace Taxpayers.
"Each voter will be provided with ten pennies to use as ballots to cast their tax money votes as they see fit. The number of voters and votes in each jar will be tabulated, recorded, and publicized. There will be exit poll interviews and a resource table.
"I see this as an opportunity for church goers to personally consider and answer the Biblical question, 'Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and unto God what belongs to God.' President Bush says, 'War' and Jesus, the Prince of Peace, said, 'Love.'"
They are granting this first year of redirected war taxes to two organizations that teach conflict resolution programs in schools nationwide: Children's Creative Response to Conflict, which offers conflict resolution workshops in cooperation, communication, affirmation, bias awareness, mediation and creative problem solving, and Help Increase the Peace Program, which offers workshops on responding to conflicts without violence, and exploring strategies for positive, nonviolent personal and social change.
Visit http://www.onemilliontaxpayersforpeace.org for more information on how to introduce war tax resistance/redirection to a broader audience.
Artists wanted: Several folks in the Pioneer Valley have been working on a national exhibit on WTR for several years. They are currently adding graphics. Unfortunately, they cannot locate good graphics for some of the exhibit -- particularly the Quaker Assembly during the founding of Pennsylvania and other WTR/Quaker history. If you are an artist who would like to help, please contact the NWTRCC office for more information. Thanks!
They are asking individuals to contribute (and redirect from their federal income taxes) $91.11 or $9.11 toward organizing efforts to stop the war, and to send them a check for that amount. Their aim is to convince hundreds, then thousands of participants to support this campaign, further reducing the risks and multiplying the impact on public policy. Organizing efforts for the campaign are ongoing: talking to other groups about it, tabling at the peace rallies and the upcoming Roy Bourgeois talk, fliers and announcements on local community radio. THey have flyers that they are willing to share with other wtr groups who may want to start a similar campaign. For more information, contact Scott at 206/547-0952 or go to their website.
For more information, contact Scott at 206/547-0952 or go to their website.
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|Category||Standard Deduction||Personal Exemption|
|Married, filing jointly||$7,950||$3,050|
|Married, filing separately||$3,975||$3,050|
|Head of household||$7,000||$3,050|
The additional personal exemption for those over age 65 or blind goes up to $950 for married taxpayers. For a single taxpayer or head of household who is 65 or over or blind, the additional standard deduction remains at $1,150. [Return to List of Headlines] [Return to NWTRCC home ] [Previous Newsletter]
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
PO Box 6512
Ithaca, NY 14851
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