MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Okay, I will concede that the issue in the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Hobby Lobby decision was the not the payment of taxes per se. Yes, SCOTUS granted the owners of Hobby Lobby the right to deny federally mandated coverage of some types of contraception. However, even the so-called "narrow" ruling broadened just the next day, according to Mother Jones:
Less than a day after the United States Supreme Court issued its divisive ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, it has already begun to toss aside the supposedly narrow interpretation of the decision. On Tuesday, the Supremes ordered lower courts to rehear any cases where companies had sought to deny coverage for any type of contraception, not just the specific types Hobby Lobby was opposed to.
Again, the issue was not technically a ruling on taxes, but it was a decision in favor of bestowing personhood on a corporation (a corporation must be considered "human" if it is to have religious beliefs) and allowing the "corporate person" to avoid paying for mandated federal health services.
That sets the precedent, it seems (with a grateful acknowledgement to Jon Oliver for the idea), that the Supreme Court should allow real persons to withhold a percentage of their income taxes that go toward wars and prisons, if they so wish. Of course, the federal courts have repeatedly rejected the right of individual taxpayers to withhold a portion of their taxes in objection to how the money would be spent. On the other hand, it just ruled that a business, which is not a person, doesn't have to spend money on a specific type of federally mandated health care.
In 2003, AlterNet posted an article on the history of individual income tax resistance as the idea was gaining ground once again, just prior to the launch of the Iraq War:
If you ask the average citizen to identify a famous American war-tax resister, most folks (if they came up with a name at all) would probably cite Henry David Thoreau. But how about Joan Baez, Noam Chomsky or Gloria Steinem?
While the author of Walden Pond is remembered for the night he spent in a Massachusetts jail for refusing to pony up to support the Mexican-American war of 1846, his solitary protest was an anomaly. But 120 years later, Baez, Chomsky and Steinem were joined by more than 500,000 Americans who openly opposed paying taxes to support Washington's bloody war in Vietnam.
The IRS, in the end, places interest and ultimately liens on unpaid taxes. Sometimes it jails high-profile income tax protesters.
Now, if we could only get Hobby Lobby to withhold a portion of its taxes because war and mass incarceration violate its religious "beliefs," we might be able to obtain a Supreme Court majority vote that would justify the action on the grounds that businesses are people. In fact, they are persons who have more rights than actual human beings living in the United States.
Maybe the answer is that "we the people" should all incorporate ourselves and then stop paying taxes for our government's penchant for war and locking up "disposable people." We would have a better chance of winning our case that way.
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