A Tax Even Liberals Can Hate
Yes, it's a whiny act of "civil disobedience" and a mark of fundamental confusion about the vital purposes of our current military initiatives, but it's still encouraging to see liberal activist groups uniting against an unfair, outdated tax.
The scheme in question is the telephone excise tax, the quiet little 3% bump to your monthly phone bill, originally enacted in 1898 as a "luxury tax" to help fund the Spanish-American War (!). Frankly, we telephonically endowed upper-crusters are getting a little tired of footing this bill...
So is Seattle peacenik Bert Sacks, who has launched a campaign to organize mass refusal to pay the excise tax, citing disagreement with current military policy. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (hat tip: Tax Foundation Blog):
Sacks is one of thousands of Americans believed to be refusing to pay the federal taxes attached to their monthly phone bills -- money that helps fund military operations overseas. Many are taking the step as a protest against the war in Iraq.
"We oppose the policies of 'pre-emptive war' and an 'endless' war on terrorism, which led to the Iraq war, which violate human rights and international law, and which have cost us hundreds of billions of dollars while our states and cities face unprecedented deficits, and cutbacks of vital services and programs," reads the statement on a Web site called www.hanguponwar.org.
Although many activists have been withholding the phone tax since the Vietnam War, the act of disobedience is making headlines again as more Americans began to question the rationale for the Iraq war...
The tax was given permanent status in 1990. It raises about $6 billion a year for general federal expenditures, including military spending.
Well, their rationale is screwy, and even their goal (convincing people not to pay their taxes, rather than encouraging lawmakers to repeal the tax) is warped, but this is about as close a brush with fiscal sensibility as the far left wing is likely to experience.
Happily, bills have been introduced this year in both the House (by Gary Miller (CA)) and the Senate (by Rick Santorum (PA)) to repeal the ancient tax, which the Tax Foundation has thoroughly dissected as cruddy policy. Eliminating the telephone excise tax would return $6 billion a year from the general fund to taxpayers' pockets.
Hey, "peace activists", when you're done being disobedient, you might want to do something useful and encourage your elected representatives to support this legislation. (Though, sorry to say, we're still going to be able to afford to pursue our national defense, which currently means prosecuting a war.)
Handcrafted by Flip on December 29, 2005 |
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