Once again, the media has succeeded in portraying a group of America-hating left-wing extremists as highly moral people of conscience.
On and around April 15, a number of news outlets including The Denver Post and the Associated Press ran articles about the War Tax Resistance Movement, a group of peace activists who refuse to pay all or part of their income taxes because some tax money might go to support the military. Not surprisingly, the media portrayed the "tax resisters" as average folks who hate war while ignoring their loony far-left agenda and hatred of America.
These activists are part of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee sponsored by the War Resisters' League - one of the nation's oldest anti-war groups. A visit to the committee's website reveals an organization that espouses a left-wing agenda of socialism and America hating rather than a group of citizens interested in "peace."
The most recent issue of "More than a paycheck," NWTRCC's newsletter, contains articles that reveal the "tax resisters'" true agenda. An article by Paul Glover (a writer living in Ithaca, NY) promotes something called "community economics." Although Glover claims to condemn socialism, "community economics" reads like a blue print for a socialist utopia. Glover 's plan for "community development" includes local currencies (paper money issued by local governments) worker ownership networks (support services for conversion of business ownership by employees), and barter posts which would enable the public to trade without cash - all silly, socialist ideas straight out of 19th century utopian economics.
Glover goes even farther and calls for a blatantly Communist economic system. Under community economics the free enterprise system would be replaced with a system of community-owned micro-industries, in which local factories would meet all of the nation's industrial needs. Naturally, Glover doesn't say how these micro-industries could produce enough goods to support a modern society. Nor does Glover tell his readers that Mao Tse-tung implemented a similar system in China in the 1950s under the Great Leap forward. The result of Mao's experiment in "community economics" was the worst famine in human history, in which 50 million people starved to death.
Classic socialist fallacies about war are repeated in an article by Jay Sordean. Sordean claims that war and military spending exist only to make bankers and the weapons industry rich.(Perhaps Sordean can remind us who got rich from the government-owned and run Soviet weapons industry, which was the largest in history?) He supports this nonsense by drawing on far-right conspiracy theories about the Federal Reserve System and showing his own ignorance of history. For instance, he claims that the current federal income tax was created in 1913 to finance World War I. Since World War I didn't begin until 1914 and America didn't enter WWI until 1917, this is a stretch of the imagination. Sordean also asserts that 50 percent of your income tax goes for war-related spending - another fallacy. (In, reality 17.5 percent of the federal budget goes to the military.)
Open hatred of Americanism is on display in an essay by War Tax Resister Aaron Falbel. Falbel writes "The true source of war in our time, as I see it, is none other than the American Way of Life - a way of life founded on and maintained by taking through things that do not rightly belong to us, whether that be Native American land, or the labor of people of color, or 50 percent of the world's resources, or access to the markets, and thus the money of other nations worldwide." In other words, a "war tax resister" states that America and average Americans are responsible for the world's problems and the cause of all war.
Although the War Tax Resisters are fairly honest about their real beliefs on their website and newsletter they are quite willing to lie to the public to promote their cause. Their own website contains a very blatant example of the people of conscience's efforts to deceive the average person.
The War Resisters' League website contains a flyer called the pie chart its members are supposed to hand out to the public on tax day. The pie chart shows that 47 percent of the federal government's spending goes to "war-related spending," 34 percent to "human resources" and 13 percent to "general government."
The pie chart, the center piece of resister propaganda, is a complete fraud. The real percentage of the federal budget devoted to discretionary military spending is 17.5 percent according to the Feb. 4, 2003 New York Times. The Times also reported that, 55.4 percent of the federal budget goes to Social Security, Medicare and other entitlements. So in real life, the majority of the militaristic U.S. government's devoted to social programs not war making.
So how does the War Resister's League arrive at its grossly exaggerated figures of military spending? Simple, like the executives at Enron, its "experts" cook the books.
The WRL admits on its web site that it left the majority of federal spending, money spent on Social Security and Medicare out of its budget assessments. The war resisters explain that they don't consider Social Security and Medicare taxes to be part of the federal income tax, because those moneys are put into trust funds rather than the general federal budget. Taxes spent on social programs are not taxes according to this "peace" group. This of course makes American military spending look far bigger than it really is.
If this weren't bad enough, the War Resisters admit to other shady accounting practices. They count moneys appropriated for veterans' benefits and payment of the national debt as "taxes to support past wars." The group does this because the only way it can arrive at the figure of 47 percent of the federal budget going to the military is to count what they see as past military spending. Even under WRL criteria only 20 percent of the federal budget goes present day military spending. The war resisters also count payments on the national debt as "war-related," the WRL claims that 80 percent of the national debt was accrued through military spending, but presents no evidence to back this claim up.
Even with the national debt in its "military budget" the WRL has to add civilian agencies budgets to its military budget to reach its grossly exaggerated percentages. For example the WRL claims that half of NASA's budget and sixty percent of the Department of Homeland Security's budget are spent on "war-related purposes." Rescuing stranded sailors is also a "war-related activity" according to the resisters who list the Coast Guard as part of the military. So are efforts to help the public cope with natural disasters, "most emergency preparedness is listed as war related in WRL's alternate reality budget." The WRL is able to claim these agencies is spending is war related by branding most federal law enforcement and research"war-related" activities. From its own admissions it's obvious that the WRL deliberately inflates its estimates of military spending to suit its own purposes.
The War Resisters League then reveals its greatest hypocrisy after claiming that citizens can't trust government because it hides the true cost of war from citizens but demanding increased spending on a wide variety of government programs including welfare, transportation systems and foreign aid. The WRL reveals its support for welfare, Amtrak mass transit, public housing, rent subsidies and other big ticket programs. In other words, a group that claims government can't be trusted wants more government spending. The illogic in such thinking is almost laughable.
Nor do the WRL or the NWTRCC answer the most important question of all: how does the government deal with terrorism or hostile governments without a military? There is almost no mention of the Sept. 11 attacks on the WRL website, and no mention of Sept. 11, in the NWTRCC newsletter. Why?
Could it be that acknowledging the existence of terrorism and terrorist groups shows that there is a real need for a military and military spending? Perhaps the reason the tax resisters don't mention terrorism is that they don't want to admit that there are legitimate reasons for military forces, military spending and even war, because such realities would call their beliefs into question.
More disturbing than the delusions and fantasies of the tax resisters is the willingness of reporters to take the claims of the tax resisters at face value and promote their cause. Why are they promoting the efforts of an extremist minority to sabotage the nation's war effort by depriving it of much-needed funds? Not one reporter asked the tax resisters questioned their spurious claims, though they invent ulterior motives when examining conservative organizations.
Why weren't reporters asking tax resisters "the tough questions"? Why wasn't the whole story of the tax resisters' nutty economics, Hate America views, conspiracy theories and blatant lies reported to the public? Could it be that claiming to work for "peace" is now more important than patriotism in the minds of many reporters?