Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Taxes and farm subsidies

rooster at poplar spring

Farm subsidies are very annoying, upsetting, misleading, and unavoidable things. From my perspective, and my taxes, the subsidies paid to farms to assist in their animal exploitation feels exactly the same as knowing that part of my taxes funds the wars that I’m completely opposed to. Quite a conundrum – the ethical choice really is to not pay any taxes. The problem is that first of all, they are taken directly out of my paycheck, and second of all, I think tax evasion probably has longer prison terms than murder.

So I pay my taxes to keep myself from having to deal with the IRS, and to keep myself out of prison, even though the taxes I pay fund the war machine and the animal exploiters.

Usually I don’t have to think about this much, but preparing my taxes tonight it was driven home, as the tax program asked me all sorts of questions, giving me an opportunity to claim numerous exemptions and credits if I had been busy in 2006 making money from various animal exploitations. What makes it even more of a slap in the face is that animal sanctuaries get no assistance at all. That’s right – if you actually save animals and provide for their care and well-being for their entire natural lives (and by “natural life” I don’t mean “until it is time to send them to the slaughterhouse to profit from their terror and death and dismemberment”), you get no benefit from the government, from the taxes we all pay. Why don’t I get a choice in the matter? Why can’t I choose which type of farm to support with my taxes? Why does the government only prop up the rich businessmen who make their money off of the people exploiting animals? It is a bit like organic farms being exempt from the farm subsidies. Anything that is not detrimental to people’s health, to animals, to the environment is not able to get assistance from the government.

I’m sure someone is thinking “what about the tax credit for hybrids?” As far as I’m concerned, that tax credit was designed to entice people to buy more new vehicles, and encouraging consuption even if for a hybrid is not exactly environmentally friendly. Notice that the electric car was killed within a decade after it was introduced, despite the success. It didn’t use any gas at all, if you ignore questioning where the electric itself came from, since it was possible to charge the cars up with green energy. How unamerican.

Yes I’m cynical. After Katrina and Iraq and Darfur and East Timor and all the steps the government has taken to make it easier for Big Business to pollute with impunity, the real question is why isn’t everyone this cynical, at a minimum?

sherman at peaceful prairie

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8 responses to “Taxes and farm subsidies

  1. rjtorres April 11, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    I’ve thought about this a lot, not necessarily in response to farm subsidies, but more in response to the question of war. Thanks for giving me another layer of this whole picture to be angry about!

    When I lived in Ithaca, some people used to do tax resister work: they’d pay _some_ of their taxes, but instead of paying the percentage that would go towards the pentagon, they’d take that part and donate it locally to charities. I have no idea if these people ended up in jail (seems likely, the gummnit won’t let you get away with that kind of sedition for long, I’d guess) or what, but I always thought it was a cool idea, just not one i’m ballsy enough to try.

  2. Deb April 11, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Yes, think there is a whole movement out there for people doing the partial tax payment. But, like you, I don’t have the balls (ahem!) to try it.

    I couldn’t resist googling: here’s a website with more info on war tax resisting! http://www.warresisters.org/how_to_resist.htm

    I wonder if eventually we’ll be able to be conscientious objectors to things like war taxes and animal death taxes? Oh, who am I kidding. Like the government would give anyone that kind of out when it comes to paying them money!

    Which reminds me: http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/u_s_asks_africa_not_to_cash

  3. K April 11, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    Oh my gosh, your blog is absolutely wonderful. I’ll be back. I hope you don’t mind if i put you on my blog for others to see and for me to link over to you quickly. Thank you for giving a voice to the voiceless… bless ewe one hundred thousandfold.

  4. Deb April 13, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    K, thanks! I’d love for you to link me on your blog! 🙂

    I’ll add yours to my blogroll once I’m back from the weekend!

  5. Mary Martin April 15, 2007 at 9:35 am

    I lived with a tax-resistor for years. He would submit his tax forms along with a letter explaining why he didn’t pay them, complete with quotes from Gandhi, MLK, Jesus and Buddha, and then attach the receipts from his donations to organizations that he believed in. He was a “REdirector of Federal Funds.” So he calculated what he owed–to the penny–and allocated it elsewhere. Yes, the IRS would come after him, but he was committed to not allowing them to use his money for war and weapons (this was like 1988, not that today’s much different). It’s another level of activism, and not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of planning, dedication, and the ability to take a lot of abuse. But activists wouldn’t have it any other way.

  6. cherie April 18, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    I totally get your outrage, as I find myself feeling the same way, but trapped in a system that was designed to facilitate the rich getting richer (and perpetuating violence).

  7. Deb April 18, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    Absolutely. And the abuse and exploitation of animals is reflected in the abuse and exploitation of humans. I’ve been reading lately about the resource wars in latin america and the desperate poverty made unbelievably worse by the IMF in the name of making the rich richer at the expense of people, and I’m struck at the way the justifications put the people being exploited firmly into the “resource” category as opposed to “sentient being.” It doesn’t surprise me – the line is never drawn as firmly as people think, unless they refuse to see anyone at all as a resource, regardless of their sex, heritage, species,”class” or any other arbitrary category.

  8. Deb April 19, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Mary, again, a huge delay in getting your comment into my “waiting moderation” bucket. I don’t know what the deal is with akismet! Thanks for sharing about the tax resistor you lived with. That is so interesting – I don’t think I’ve heard about anyone who resisted fully before. Not for the faint of heart indeed!

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