Tax Guru-Ker$tetter Letter
Saturday, August 03, 2002
How Should Tax Dollars Be Spent?
Back during the VietNam War, one way that Joan Baez & her fellow war protestors used to fight the US military was to withhold from their taxes the percentage that they believed was used for what they considered to be immoral warfare. Some of them supposedly deposited the money into escrow accounts or donated it to charity. Most of them probably used the money to buy more LSD or pot. Their approach was illegal then and IRS continued to exercise its awesome powers to make sure all taxes were paid.
According to this story in the NY Times, current opponents of the US defending itself against terrorists are resurrecting this idea and are advocating that people hold back the 50 percent of their taxes that they claim is used by the military. This entire concept is so wrong for so many reasons, that I will limit my discussion to just a few.
First is the issue of whether or not the Federal government should be spending money on military actions. As a Libertarian, I have always believed that the Federal government should limit its actions to just those few areas as designated in the U.S. Constitution, which includes the defense of this country's borders and its people. If we Libertarians had our way, no Federal tax dollars would be spent on anything not authorized in the Constitution.
The very sad fact of life is that most of what our Federal tax dollars are used for is well beyond anything that our founding fathers envisioned being handled by the Federal government. Many of us truly believe that if our rulers in DC would spend more time and energy on defense matters and less on the unconstitutional issues that dominate their agendas, we may not have been attacked last September and wouldn't currently be twiddling our thumbs waiting for the next attacks.
Which brings us to the next issue. Do we Libertarians, and anyone else who similarly respects the Constitution, have a legal or moral right to withhold tax payments for those things that we don't believe are properly within the scope of the Federal government? While I wish such were the case, that just isn't proper.
Contrary to the ignoramuses who say that the United States is a Democracy, it is in actuality a Representative Republic. We (those of us who vote) select people to go to Washington to decide how our tax dollars are spent. While very attractive in concept, if every person had the right to decide where each of his/her tax dollars goes, we would have an even more chaotic mess than we have with our 535 elected rulers making those decisions for us. The answer, for those who don't agree with how the Federal government spends our money, is to elect those people who share our views on what the Federal government should be doing and how tax dollars should be spent.