I've been thinking lately about my income taxes and what they actually support.
As more social services have their funding drastically cut and more money is diverted to building up our military, I think more and more about what it would mean to be a tax resistor.
And then I realize I already am one. Without breaking a single law.
My work history makes me a tax resistor. I have spent my entire adult life working at lower-income, hourly-wage jobs or, more recently as a piecemeal freelancer scraping to get by. In both cases, my low income has reduced and sometimes eliminated my tax burden. The government has precious little to thank me for regarding my work history. And since I did not get a whilte-collar job or obtain all the trappings of a middle class American Dream, I have precious little to feel guilty about.
My lifestyle choices make me a tax resistor. I don't engage in annual tourism -- a vacation for me is a three-day campout somewhere close by, if we can get away. I don't own a car. I ride a bike or take public transit everywhere. I don't buy new clothes (and haven't in a very long time). I get food from the back shelves, heavily discounted because it's past the sell-by date (but still perfectly edible).
And probably most important of all, I decided long ago that I would value time over money -- which meant that I seldom worked overtime during my years in the bike industry, because I felt a body and mind needed regular rest and recovery. I didn't kill myself in order to have extra to put in some retirement fund; I simply worked to earn what I needed to live. I still do. I have no retirement fund, and I don't exactly have what would traditionally be called a career. I am having an interesting life, though, and that feels like the better choice for me.
When I die, I will die poor. And I'm fine with that. I think that's the way it should be.
And all of these choices, conscious and not-so-conscious, are perfectly legal.
I am doing my part to not support the current regime in its quest to out-Korea North Korea. I will not help the current administration kiss Russia's ass. I will not invest in anything even remotely connected to a stock market that has always rewarded the rich at others' expense. I absolutely refuse to support a regime that purposely disenfranchises anyone who isn't white, Christian and male.
And so, I resist in the ways I can, quietly and legally and intentionally.
Below: The latest refugee bike, liberated from a friend's garage and delivered to me earlier this week. After a tune-up, a replacement saddle and a basket, it's ready to take someone to school or work in style (dig those old-school chrome fenders!). And I'm positively delirious that the person who will ride it is someone who is making a fresh start here in the US, someone who escaped war and terror and risked everything to get here. I would love to run into this bike and its rider next summer at a Sunday Parkways, or pass it on the street as its owner rides it to work or school. Almost nothing is better than that. Because that, too, is a sort of resistance against the lopsided power structure in this country.
If you're in Portland and need more space in your garage,hit me up. Thanks and happy riding!