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Volume 26 • Number 2

April 2012



Conscientious Tax Objection: Why the Liberal State Must Accommodate Tax Resisters

by Jason Brennan

On "Tax Day" (April 15) in 2009, Tea Party protestors held rallies in 750 different cities across the United States. Tea Partiers commonly believe that the federal government is too big, too corrupt, and too willing to expropriate resources from the many to pay off the well-connected few. They see the government not as an engine of peace and social justice, but as an engine of exploitation. On their view, Washington consists of powerful insiders who thwart the interests of the common person.

Some (but not many) of these Tea Partiers are conscientious tax resisters. They do not wish to pay taxes because they believe doing so would be deeply unjust. Some of them advocate withholding taxes, and some of them actively practice tax withholding. Some refuse to pay taxes because they do not wish to pay for Wall Street bailouts. Others do not wish to pay for the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Still others refuse because they think "ObamaCare" will destroy American health care and the American economy.

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Public Affairs Quarterly is published by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications.

ISSN: 2152-0542