Tax for Peace Not War

RECEIVED Mon., Aug. 15, 2005

Dear Editor,
    Thanks for “Thoughts After Celebration” (July 8) [News] about the costs of war using National Priorities Project statistics. I have disseminated NPP data locally for years to no avail.
    In another piece referring to NPP, “Fund Cities, Not Guns, Say Docs,” (May 27) [News], Physicians for Social Responsibility president Lisa Doggett (daughter of Rep. Lloyd Doggett) concludes: “The federal government should be reinvesting our tax dollars into helping our communities, our states, and our country ... not developing macho military programs that fail to make us safer.” I couldn't agree more.
    Now, 65 years after Hiroshima, the “anti-war” city of Austin considers its budget, oblivious to the siphoning of blood money to fund the Pentagon's Iraqi quagmire. Either indirectly from city coffers – through subsidies to war profiteers like CSC – or directly from citizens' paychecks, Austinites cough up 42% of their income taxes to fund the “merchants of death,” including next generation nuclear weapons. (According to www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm, it's 50%.)
    Whither the outrage from the peace movement, city officials, social service agencies, conservatives, and ordinary taxpayers?
    One path toward greater resistance is the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, HR 2631. It would draw attention to the military budget and protect the civil liberties of conscientious objectors to military taxation (one of whom was just sent to federal prison in New Jersey). The bill has bipartisan support in Congress and endorsements from many local and national groups, most recently the delegates to the American Civil Liberties Union's convention.
    However, “anti-war” Rep. Doggett (who said, "Denying even a single citizen their rights is totally unacceptable” in “Naked City,” July 22) [News], PSR, Center for Public Policy Priorities, Texas Impact, et al. groups refuse to support it. Concerned citizens can ask Doggett and other U.S. representatives and senators to co-sponsor HR 2631. Details are at www.peacetaxfund.org or 888/peace-tax.
Andy McKenna
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