When you take the trillions of dollars the U.S. has spent on it’s occupation of Iraq and divide it up by the number of people in the U.S., the Iraq tax bill for an average family of 4 equals $16,500. On tax day, Congress members were talking about these numbers on Democracy Now!
It’s these kinds of numbers, along side all the other human and environmental costs of the occupation of Iraq, that led me to do war tax resistance this year. It is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time. But this year, with a core group of people in my church community, Circle of Hope, I was able to walk with them through the discernment process and I felt quite strongly about doing this form of resistance to war-making, while at the same time redirecting money to life-giving initiatives. Here’s a letter to the editor I wrote for tax day, which was not published.
How can we stop the war in Iraq? Soldiers can refuse to fight. Government leaders can de-fund the occupation. Taxpayers can stop paying for it.
This year I will not pay my federal income tax to the U.S. government. I will no longer support my country’s war-making by giving it my money.
In FY 2006, out of every dollar the U.S. government spent, 5 cents was spent on education and 12 cents on food and housing assistance, while it spent 41 cents on war & preparations for war.* This type of spending does not reflect my Christian values and therefore I will not support it.
Instead, I will redirect my tax dollars to two organizations working on life-giving initiatives: healthcare for the uninsured and aid for Iraqi refugees.
When Congress passes the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill (HR-1921), I will resume paying my income tax to the U.S. government.
I know that I will be breaking the law and I am prepared to accept the consequences, because when a country wages war there are consequences; ask a solider returning home or an Iraqi refugee being resettled in Philadelphia.
*Statistics from the Friends Committee on National Legislation (www.fcnl.org)