With April 15 (Tax Day in the U.S.) looming, I consider myself to have three moral obligations:
- Pay taxes that can provide funding for many vital programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, public transportation, human services, education, environmental protections, and veterans’ benefits.
- Protest tax policies that further entrench the rich and powerful while robbing the poor, depleting the middle class, and killing innocent people in the names of profit and national security.
- Protest policies allowing huge corporations like General Electric to make billions of dollars in profits from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while paying NO federal taxes.
To find out where your tax payments go, check out the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL). According to their analysis, out of each dollar paid in federal income taxes in 2010, 39 cents went to fund current and past wars. This is probably an underestimate.
The federal budget deficit has been growing alarmingly since 2001, and it makes sense to look for ways to trim expenditures. But ask yourself, is it moral, is it just, and in the long run is it wise to cut the budgets for programs such as Social Security, job training, and Head Start, while keeping the Pentagon budget “off the table” and maintaining enormous tax breaks for the wealthy (e.g., through recent tax cuts on millionaires’ estates).
For a detailed breakdown of how social programs could be saved if some of the tax breaks for the rich were reduced, see the Center for American Progress.
In last year’s “weak economy,” hundreds of new billionaires emerged in this country while more and more people were losing their jobs and homes and falling below the poverty line. Is this what you want your taxes and current tax policies to support?
Finally, I have some suggestions:
- Go to the FCNL page to learn more about how your taxes are spent and to retrieve a toolkit that will give you some ideas about how you can get involved
- Participate in Global Day of Action on Military Spending, April 12, 2011.
To get some idea about what a cutback in military spending could accomplish, watch this video:
Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology