I bring you David Gross of San Francisco, who not only:
…asked his bosses for a radical pay cut, enough so he wouldn’t have to pay taxes to support the war.
In any event, his employer turned him down and he quit.
Which, I guess, good for him, standing up for his convictions that way and all. Left unanswered, at least for now, is whether federal taxes are levied on the wages of “guests of the Federal Government”. Why would I be curious about that? Because
Gross, 38, now works on a contract basis, and last year he refused to pay self-employment taxes.
All by itself, that doesn’t distinguish him from a lot of people. The AP story notes that between 8 and 10 thousand people fail to pay their taxes for reasons similar to those of Gross. Contained in the story, at a meta-level, is the fact that this particular non-Rhodes Scholar allowed the AP to write a story about him evading taxes. Nothing like calling out the IRS by name to get them to leave you alone. Posing in two pre-mug shots for the story? A priceless addition, though I’m sure the Feds could already have found him whenever and wherever they needed to.
Of course, these days, he won’t end up becoming a guest of the Federal Government:
Unlike the days when Thoreau was sent to prison in a tax protest against the Mexican-American War, modern war tax protesters rarely go to prison, according to tax resisters. The IRS may take their money from wages and bank accounts – with penalties and interest – after sending a series of letters.
“They’re very polite, which makes it a little boring,” said Rosa Packard of Greenwich, a longtime anti-war tax protester.
But if he thinks he is going to avoid collection of his taxes owed, by hook or by crook, after having trumpeted his resistance on a national newswire, he’s perhaps not smart enough to be gainfully employed, as a contractor or otherwise.
Will his protest, and others like his, have the desired effect? As James Taranto said in the OpinionJournal piece where I first saw this story, “Something tells us the economy will survive.”
Addendum – Mr. Gross expands on his and his fellow protesters’ thoughts and methods, with emphasis on the actual question I posed:
A frequent challenge to conscientious tax resisters whose resistance leads to fines and penalties is “won’t the government just end up with more in the end?”
The Ghandi quote that follows the snippet above is interesting and informative, if not completely dispositive.
Unlike Mr. Gross’ first commenter Ken (bottom), I have no desire to see Gross locked up, and wish him the best in what I consider to be a Quixotic quest, even though I disagree with it.