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My Tax Dollars

5 April 2002

With April 15 fast approaching, all thoughts turn to taxes. I entered the American workforce over thirty years ago. Since then, my tax dollars have been used to support, in no particular order:

  • The Cold War
  • The War against Palestinians by Israelis
  • The death of hundreds of thousands in Indonesia, Chile, Kosovo, El Salvador, Iraq, Columbia, Afghanistan, Chechnya
  • The bailout of multi-billion dollar multi-national corporations
  • The War in Vietnam
  • The "Peace Process" with emphasis on preventing actual peace
  • The sending of weapons to Iran via Israel for "hostages" - when there were no hostages until later
  • The consideration of an Iraqi invasion of Iran after the 1979 revolution that rejected US Middle East policy
  • The flow of wealth from the Middle East to the upper one percent of the US population
  • The ethnic cleansing of countless indigenous peoples, their societies and cultures
  • The presidential pardoning of thiefs and other criminals
  • The continued US addiction to fossil fuels
  • The neglect of millions of senior citizens and children with no healthcare or sufficient income to pay for prescription medicines
  • The War on Drugs
  • The research and development units (as much as 40-50 per cent of their budgets) of multi-national corporations
  • The Supreme Court selection of a US president
  • The use of fear and threats to civil liberties to ensure citizen conformity
  • The salaries of already wealthy public officials
  • The doctrine that if someone else does it, it's terrorism. If the US does it, it's self defense or a desire for peace
  • The War on Terrorism
  • The funding of a $400 billion a year defense budget ($400 billion a year!)
  • The growth of prisons for hundreds of thousands of minority males
  • The destruction of our public education system
  • The threat to Social Security
  • The repeal of long-standing environmental laws
  • The repeal of laws relating to workers, the disabled and affirmative action
  • The continued discrimination against women, African Americans and people of different sexual and religious orientation
  • The elimination of jobs and job security
  • The predatory lending practices of multi-national corporations
  • The marginalization of those who question any the above mentioned policies
  • Various other distractions and attention grabbing scandals
  • The growing disparity between who pays taxes and who does not.

Frankly, I'm warred out. In the sixties, young men burned their draft cards. In the seventies, women burned their bras. In the eighties, many of affluence burned US currency to light their cigars. Today, maybe it's time to burn our tax returns. Time to respectfully demand more from our leaders. Time to respectfully demand more thought and purpose to evolve beyond the sicknesses of greed, of "might is right" and of "us versus them." It's time, in the words of US Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, to "Think peace. Speak peace. Act peace. Peace."

Jacob Lerner
Published by © Jabob Lerner

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