The Newsletter of New York City War Tax Resistance
Selected Articles

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Social Security — Trust Fund?

by Sallie Marx

Every day millions, if not billions, are withheld from the checks of American workers. In the 50s and 60s one hardly noticed the reductions in salaries. Those were the good old days when 3% meant a dollar or two. Now Social Security taxes have risen to more than 6%, which often means $15 or $20 less in the pocketbook with each weekly paycheck. With low income workers struggling to meet bills, the issue of Social Security and how funds are used is vital. Moreover — and this is the nub of the growing debate — Social Security may offer little security to future workers who retire.

Many of these facts came to light when Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a middle-of-the-road New York Democrat, began his campaign to present the facts on Social Security to the American people.

Social Security moneys are held in a trust fund which is defined by Webster's New International Dictionary as “that committed or entrusted to one to be used or cared for in the interest of another.”

Words, however, are deceiving, as well we know when we try to figure out the contents of a food package. Sometimes you need an interpreter or a nutritionist; sometimes you need more information; often you need to read between the lines.

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A trust fund, one would assume, has moneys held in trust. Not so with Social Security, which is used to cover our ever-growing deficit. In other words, failing to generate enough revenue from taxation, the government turns to a “trust” fund and uses its revenues to cover the budget deficit.

In 1990 the deficit was approximately $138 billion. If the $66 billion excess from the Social Security trust fund were taken out of the calculations, the deficit would be $204 billion. Including excess social security funds shrinks the deficit by $66 billion.

One might wonder how this came about. There was a time when moneys in trust funds were held separate from general revenues. But along came a great idea for masking military spending. With the cost of the Vietnam War skyrocketing, the Johnson administration formulated a unified budget under which Social Security funds and highway trust funds, which are both massive funds, were considered with general revenues. As a result social spending was inflated and military spending took a much smaller percentage of the budget than would have been the case had the trust funds been considered separately.

Whether or not today's policies are rooted in the 60s adoption of the unified budget might be debatable, but one thing is not: Social Security has grown — and that surplus comes from higher taxes on American workers.

Today the Social Security surplus is used to buy Treasury securities and the US Treasury uses that money to cover expenses from paper clips to warships.

Moynihan has argued that increased Social Security taxes hit low income workers hardest. Why should they finance the budget deficit? They can least afford it. Also, were the tax lowered, companies would have reduced expenses, which might encourage the employment of additional workers.

What does it all add up to? The 1960s and 70s gave us enormously costly wars: The 80s continued the arms race as unprecedented sums went into a military buildup while the Reagan tax philosophy, labeled “trickle down,” shifted the burden to poor and moderate income workers. Yes, it trickled down but not in the way Reagan explained — by creating more jobs for American workers and reducing the deficit. It trickled down by putting a greater tax burden on those would could least afford it — lower income workers.

The average low income worker supported the government's death buildup, not only with a disproportionate share of income taxes but with increased Social Security taxes.

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Prior to 1935 Social Security was unknown in the US. The Roosevelt administration created a structure of social reforms that saved the American system of private enterprise. Based on the notion that social insurance — i.e., old age and unemployment insurance — would create safety nets, this support system was put in place to prevent massive hordes of the unemployed, disabled and elderly from losing their livelihoods, their homes and facing the spectre of gnawing hunger. It was put in place not only for humanitarian reasons but to stave off growing desperation and revolution.

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In The Big Change, a book about the 30s, Frederick Lewis Allen described the effects of the Great Depression on ordinary people:

“It marked millions of people — inwardly — for the rest of their lives. Not only because they or their friends lost jobs, saw their careers broken, had to change their whole way of living, were gnawed at by a constant lurking fear of worse things yet, and in all too many cases actually went hungry; but because what was happening to them seemed without rhyme or reason. Most of them had been brought up to feel that if you worked hard and well, and otherwise behaved yourself, you would be rewarded by good fortune. Here were failure and defeat and want visiting the energetic along with the feckless, the able along with the unable, the virtuous along with the irresponsible. They found their fortunes interlocked with those of great numbers of other people in a pattern complex beyond their understanding, and apparently developing without reason or justice.”

Today a growing number of Americans view Social Security, a hallmark of New Deal legislation, as social insecurity — that what might have worked sixty years ago is so untrustworthy, so inadequate that they must provide for themselves. Well-off Americans, who can, invest savings and open up IRA's or other retirement accounts. Perhaps they are saying — the government has moved away from the “trust” concept, and we don't trust that Social Security will provide for us when we reach 65.

As Moynihan so aptly put it, Social Security funds “are funds held in trust. We are using them as general revenue ... To go on using this money as we do invites massive loss of trust [my emphasis]. Even now, most non-retired adults don't really think they will get their Social Security.”

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The Evolution of Revolution — Shaping Nonviolent Resistance In The 90s: PART I

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The Revolution Will Be In Living Color

by Joanie Fritz

Emma Goldman

“This is the place to jump, the place to dance! This is the wilderness! Was there ever any other? This is savagery! Do you call it freedom? This is barbarism! The struggle for survival is right here ...”

— Fredy Perlman,
   Against His-story, Against Leviathan!,
   (Detroit: Black & Red, 1983)

What has happened to the Zeitgeist of our movement? “Listen,” people say defensively, "I come from the 60s" — as if the 60s were a place, like “the boondocks.” But isn't revolution simply active participation in one's community, one's culture, one's own history?

And didn't revolution used to be a lot more fun? Recent demonstrations I've participated in were disappointing — aside from being ill-attended, they were also lacking in liveliness and camaraderie. More importantly, they were dismayingly angry and adversarial in nature. Protesting used to be a lot less grim and a lot more sexy. Sometimes people actually went stag to marches, only to return home with a tender colleague for the epxress purpose of exploring insurgency at the level of biological peacefare. The pleasure principle has been with us at least since Emma Goldman championed the value of a good dance in the streets. Without pleasure, there can be no revolution.

Let's focus on the nature of grimness for a moment. Is it possible that the movement is despairing? Despair is the exact antithesis of revolution. We are not those who succumb, we are those who resist. In order to understand our own inertia — and we must recognize it if we are to get past it — we must discover the source of despair in our world.

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Discouragement flows from several tributaries — the rending presence of AIDS (and the resulting repression of functional sexuality), crushing economic conditions, the earth ecologically plundered by greed and violence, and the omnipresence of repression, racism and war. Meanwhile, the media disseminate misinformation, soft-pedaling or sensationalizing world events, distorting reality. It is not unnatural to feel helpless in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. We get lost in the miasma of survival. Perhaps this is a singular reason for non-participation in social action.

When pacifists turn their energy toward armed struggle or legislative solutions, such attention depletes our enthusiasm practically beyond endurance. Utopian ideals were once disparaged by our critics as infantile and unrealistic. In these somber days, utopian ideals are scoffed at from all quarters. In the face of such numbing scepticism, we continue to vie for credibility as a movement — indeed we contend for the credibility of pacifism as a valid path. Certainly, when significant numbers of protestors are kept well out of the range of media cameras, and any appearance we do make is trivialized by the pundits — that we survive at all is a miracle.

Traditional touted social solutions are based on certain cornerstones of American ethics — competition, acquisition, dominion, and the ongoing protection of illicit power. In order to compete, acquire, dominate and continue to protect political power, one must be young, successful, pumped-up, lean and mean — the prototypical American superhero/ine.

Note the word “successful.” For is there any greater sin in the late 20th century than being unsuccessful? The unsuccessful person is a wimp. Whereas success used to be equated with a sense of ethics — loyalty, dependability, trustworthiness — the word “successful” now connotes the Machiavellian ability to overcome the competition, amass wealth and maintain control. A new code of ethics has been defined to support a different set of priorities.

Let's suppose for a moment there is such a thing as an “average person.” The average person tends to swim with the flow. Even in indisputably more difficult conditions, s/he unswervingly holds down the job, pays the bills, puts the kids through school and collects the pension. The average person is accustomed to the three-second information blip. S/he is conditioned by parents, school, jobs, automatic teller machines, traffic signals, even telephone prompt systems. The average person knows how to follow directions and if specially prepared, how to take orders. To the average person, the image is often more tangible than what is real.

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Where does the average person find paradise now?   The most obvious and tangible antidote for dissatisfaction personal or political is the universal joystick: material compensation — preferably, wealth. Such gratification has little to do with individual self-worth or spiritual satisfaction. It has to do with the buying and selling of the soul.

The conscious and insidious manipulation of images to control a population, and substitution of “Doublespeak” for precise language robs the “average person” of the clarity to push beyond the torpor. And for those of us involved in the peace movement, we must first maneuver ourselves through a forest of confusion before even beginning a dialogue with the skeptical or the indifferent.

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Lifelong resistance has its rewards a sense of purpose and wholeness, the rich texture of community, a transcendent perspective on life and how each individual has the ability to affect the quality of life for future generations. But lifelong resistance can be exhausting, and seldom offers creature comforts other choices accord. The final metastasis of divide and conquer results in a grey column of morose devotees. The elders cry for young people to carry on the struggle. But the young need to question authority in their own unique way.

Since idealism is not particularly valued in our present culture, those who question that culture are unfortunately in the minority. Our revolution cannot be conceived out of a sense of drudgery any more than it can be born of vengeance. That great Wobbly spirit, Mel Most, used to say: “We’re going to have to accomplish the revolution with smoke and mirrors.”

Actually, what is needed is a stellar display of light and space to captivate the fancy; in other words the window of possibility that allows this species to enter into a true state of freedom. If we fail to go through that window, it augers ill for the future. How, then, to attain the level of passion and release of energy that we hope will inspire the next generation? Here we are at la ultima pregunta — this is the precise moment to dance!

For some war tax resisters, the answer is to “legitimize” — join the mainstream at least to the point where survival is possible. Career choices, family commitment, and economic pressures all contribute to the “falling off” factor. An individual's decision to “legitimize” is often arrived at through great agita. We must recognize the difficulty of a decision each of us may face some day. We must encourage such comrades to stay within the movement in whatever form is possible for them. In an effort to stay connected, those who “legitimize” often opt to send contributions to movement organizations, sometimes very generous ones. We truly need their support.

Given all this, where do we stand? First of all, let's not forget the accomplishments of the past 20 years. On the “legitimate” side of things, we have a president now who, despite his action (or inaction) at least gives lip service to the phrase “turning swords into plowshares.” There are African-Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, women, gays and lesbians in prominent positions of government. Abortion is still legal.

In the peace movement, much progress is evident. Significant inroads have been made in the areas of environmental consciousness and the dismantling of nuclear power plants. There is a serious movement toward gun control — albeit, co-opted by legislative channels. Inroads have been made in terms of educating the public about war toys and conscientious objection to the draft. War tax resistance has made its way into the public consciousness. Life funds (the instruments for diverting withheld tax monies into community groups dedicated toward good works), have sprung up all over the country.

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We are surviving in a hostile environment, but we continue to persist.  Perhaps the movement of 20 years ago was more ebullient and unbridled. But the spirit of revolution will never die — it will rise like a phoenix, again and again, higher and higher. It will be rekindled by the passion and imagination of a new generation of questioners.

The last thing I want to do is rhapsodize about the good old days, the good old music and the good old peace marches. After all we've been through in the 20th century, we should welcome the year 2000. But the fact of the matter is, who's going to make a revolution if the dance steps are forgotten?

Consider this a call to recover the intensity and righteous indignation which aroused, tickled and drove us mad on the crest of an emergency that is still in our midst. Friends and lovers, I'm going to say it here and now: Peace and Love. And who would be so cynical as to laugh or call the idea passé? Revolution is not protracted adolescent rebelliousness, nor is it time spent at the peace encampment between burn-out and mid-life crisis. The struggle for a better world takes lifetimes, and the more lives devoted to this very real and important work, the sooner we will attain our desires.

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“We live in pre-revolutionary times,”  writes Judith Malina, peace activist and cofounder of The Living Theatre, “because we see from the events of May ‘68, and the fall of the Berlin Wall ... that ... every revolutionary force breaks itself on the enthusiasm of its first wave, and we’re left with the motto ‘La Lutte Continue.’ We should learn from history and understand that rhythm, and next time we should be prepared.”

How, then, shall we proceed in the second half of this decade? STAY TUNED FOR PART II.

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To Resist or Not to Resist? That Is Not the Question!

by Robert Hieger

“An IRS agent said to me ‘The IRS code was passed after the Constitution, so it supersedes it!’ ”

— Genjo Marinello,
     War Tax Resister from Seattle, WA

Does negotiation with the IRS mean giving up? What constitutes a situation that calls for negotiation? How does one negotiate without “throwing in the towel?”

One of the eventual by-products of war tax resistance is making the rather painful evaluation as to the possibility of continued protest in the face of an increasingly eroded landscape of opportunity.

To resist or not to resist? To negotiate or not to negotiate? In order to better appreciate the dilemma facing the experienced resister, it behooves us to examine some of the reasoning behind resistance.

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The Issue of Effectiveness

Few people believe that withholding their paltry few hundred dollars a year is going to stop the progress — if one can call it that — of a war machine reaching for the stars. Clearly, we are engaged in a protest that decries the lust for blood and its attendant technology. In effect, we, as war tax resisters, are saying “Not with my blood! Not with my sweat!”

Government response to this outcry is well-known. As General Alexander Haig put it, “Let them march all they want, so long as they pay their taxes.” In many test cases, courts have decided that constitutional arguments are irrelevant. The only relevant issue is the veracity of the assessment: does the respondent legitimately owe the assessed taxes? In other words, the Constitution has no bearing on the restrictions the IRS can place on one's human rights.

One of the few exceptions to this rule has been the use of Fifth Amendment rights. Cases where the IRS attempts to force information from an unwilling tax protestor are often dismissed. This happens primarily with resisters who protest by not filing tax returns. The argument is that if the resister freely provides information to the IRS, this could indicate a willful refusal to file tax returns, which in turn opens the road to criminal charges. Thus the use of the Fifth Amendment is considered legitimate.

However, we should consider whether the application of constitutional arguments ultimately serves the cause of ending violence in the world, when the country itself exists as a result of fierce and deadly battle.

We cannot rely upon the government to abide by its own writing with regard to human rights — especially if those rights include the freedom to withhold money from it. In any case, we can place no stock in the government's alleged concern. Its escelation in the use of military solutions both at home and abroad confirms time and time again its flagrant violation of human rights of people all over the world.

The issue is not one of government response at all, but one of individual and collective conscience. It is the individual who can make the difference. Resistance is not merely an act. It is a way of being. And it is not mired by romanticism to one cause — it is one methodology in the quest for a more livable world. Thus this act of protest embraces the entire quest for peace and social organization.

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The Isolation Principle

Though the number of resisters across the country could probably be numbered in the tens of thousands, the WTR movement is a relatively small fringe of the overall peace movement. We know the government's perception of our activism. Suffice it to say we can rely only on ourselves. This is a lonely and rarified atmosphere in which to breathe and live, and one of the biggest obstacles to the movement's success; it is also a hidden strength, as I will later explore.

How many of our best friends have suffered the feelings of futility accompanying collection? How many have felt the hypocrite when they find themselves backed into a corner, the only escape from which is negotiation with the IRS?

A rather frightful feeling of isolation results from the reality that we can rely only on ourselves. There is no question of the movement's minority status. There is also no question as to the resolve of this minority to refuse participation in the fortification of a monstrous machine of largely condoned genocide.

As a direct response to this realization and to the genuine desire to make a difference, scores of regional and local WTR coordinating groups, as well as the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) have grown to what I might call their adolescence. I draw this analogy of adolescence because we have reached a certain plateau in our consciousness about the efficacy of our movement.

We are increasingly aware of our isolation not only from one another but from the macrocosm of the peace movement.

We are still on the fringes of peace activism. And despite our best efforts to act as a support network, many of our best friends have been lost to the mainstream.

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The Factor of Economy

The nation’s economy plays an increasingly significant role in the ability of even the most seasoned resister to indefinitely sustain tax refusal. The feeling that legal loopholes continue to disappear and that alternative means of making a living decrease by the day is a serious stumbling block.

Most war tax resisters tend to be rather selective as to their means of support. If they are employees, most generally speaking, they work for alternative employers who are somewhat sympathetic to their cause, even if they cannot completely officially support it, i.e. refuse to honor levies.

Although their success rate is greater, resisters who choose the route of self-employment face other difficulties. Unlike the employee, who is currently accorded approximately a $113.00 weekly exemption on levies, the self-employed person presented with a levy on payment from a client is given no allowance. No portion of the currently invoiced amount is exempt from collection. The entire payment is siezed, up to the amount of the tax liability stated on the levy. The levy must be received the day that money is collectable and is valid only on the date of receipt. One could avoid further collection by simply not doing business with that client again, but this goes against the development of good client relations. With the stubbornly depressed economy, the market is far from booming; clients do not grow on depressed trees. Also the self-employed person has no unemployment insurance in many States throughout the country.

Then comes the question of simple living — the practice of living below the level of income tax liability. Though on the face of it, this is the essence of true resistance to the war machine, in that it actively proposes an alternative lifestyle, it is becoming increasingly prohibitive. There are some very innovative and committed individuals who live off the land in rural surroundings, thereby circumventing the need for a larger income. And even in intensely urban settings such as New York City, there are the brave pioneer souls who squat in abandoned buildings and “build their social structure within the shell of the old,” to quote the old Wobbly ideal. But barring these rare exceptions, it is quite difficult. Living costs are unquestionably escalating on a daily basis while income is not — especially if one chooses to live below the level of tax liability. As of 1994, a single person under the age of 65 must have an annual income of no more than $6,250! This is hardly liveable in this day and age and puts any such idealist far below the poverty line.

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How to Negotiate?

While it is not my purpose to encourage negotiation, I feel it is very important to emphasize that negotiation is possible.

Although they frequently threaten such punitive action in an attempt to terrorize the taxpayer into compliance, the intention of the IRS has always been the effective collection of taxes, and so they are very rarely interested in jailing resisters.

The traditional route for negotiation consists of informing the IRS that you wish to negotiate a payment agreement. They will then propose a monthly payment based on what they believe you are capable of paying. If the payment amount is too much for your budget, you are then asked to fill out forms outlining your monthly expenses and income. After a review process — which can often become lengthy — an agreement is drafted. Once you sign this, you must make your monthly payments.

A development covered in a July 16, 1993 New York Times article is quite interesting. An automated negotiater, if you will, in the form of a computerized telephone payment planner has been instituted in Laguna Niguel, California. It allows the taxpayer to propose a monthly payment plan, using the telephone keypad. The system accepts the proposed plan over the telephone, and written confirmation is sent in the mail. If the proposed payment is too low, the system will suggest the minimum amount the IRS will accept.

While not flawless, it does minimize the pain of the negotiation process. There are indications that this test program, now approved as permanent in California, will become the accepted national standard.

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And Now What?

So you've negotiated. You’re sending in your monthly payments and wondering “What does this all mean?” Possibly, you suffer pangs of nausea with each check you toss into the mail. What to do? Life was impossible without settling, perhaps even “legitimizing” and paying taxes from now on.

In what sense are you a war tax resister now? No truism can undo the sense of futility or simmering anger left in the wake of resistance, prolonged or short-lived.

What I called the isolation principle above is indeed also the strength of the movement despite our lack of bulk in numbers. We are a unified body of people — all opposed to war and all that it portends. When a resister is faced with the reality of negotiation, it is incumbent upon us, as fellow resisters, not only to support the decision to negotiate, but to help show how resistance may continue. It is also up to the individual former resister to define her/his position as a supporter of the movement.

Yes, it is a sad event when one finds no alternative to negotiation. But it is not the end. The true activist has not ceased to be active but has merely shifted tactics in that activism. Because it bears repetition, I repeat what I said earlier: Resistance is not merely an act. It is a way of being. The question is not whether we should resist. The question is how to resist.

In our next issue, I will examine not only the mechanics but also the ideology of resisting the war machine and creating viable alternatives today that will function tomorrow.

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Is There “Social Security” Without Health Care?

by Sallie Marx

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Decent health care is an inalienable right. Regardless of income level, employment or nonemployment, urban or rural dwelling place, rich state or poor state, every man, woman and child is entitled to a high standard of medical care.

In every industrial country in the world (except South Africa) the above statement is a truism. Developed countries accept the basic health rights of their citizens; in fact, have accepted it for decades.

But the US still clings to an ethic in which, like affording decent apartment or decent clothes, getting decent health care is up to the individual. So if one is employed by a major company or a good nonprofit institution, one of the free benefits (or perks) is a good medical plan. Pennies from heaven!!

Paradoxically, those who need medical attention most desperately are often unemployed, marginally employed, low-paid workers, or welfare recipients. These groups have little or no coverage. For Medicaid recipients this means long lines in clinics and emergency rooms.  Add to Medicaid recipients those with no health insurance who also fail to qualify for Medicaid and you have an intolerable burden on hospitals — a burden that has cost countless lives and continues to jeopardize all our lives. Who knows when one will need emergency room treatment?

In the US decent medical care is a right associated with middle class employment or an upper class bankroll. A growing number of laid-off employees have turned to self-employment or freelance work and must provide their own health insurance. And now that middle income people are being squeezed out of the health insurance market, the issue of decent, affordable health care has taken center stage in the American political arena. Except for committed left political activists, the health issue was a non-issue for the past few decades. Now it hits a vital nerve — people facing pauperism are confronted with the question — Should life expectancy be based on monetary income? For good health care is inextricably linked to longevity. It's a matter of life and death!

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The Single Payer Plan

American perceptions — our glorification of individualism, our dislike of government and bureaucracy, our fear of government control and our view that private enterprise can do most anything better and cheaper — conspire to produce a near insurmountable obstacle to a universal single payer health plan (that is, government payment replaces the many insurance reimbursements that prevail today and would prevail in “managed competition”).

But hold on. Are most Americans opposed to a government sponsored plan? One survey suggests opposition to a single payer plan is a myth — that 65% of the American people support it.

In any case, it would seem that the picture of American individualism is, by and large, true; that only the dire consequences of rampant rises in medical/hospital bills and inadequate treatment of a substantial portion of the population have brought some wavering foes of “too much government” to the conclusion that ridding ourselves of the grip of insurance companies, pharmaceutical houses and hospitals is the only good answer to the health crisis. And that means government must play a large role.

How? Some plans call for states or regions as the collectors/disbursers of money, others call for the federal government. It would seem that the closer the layer of government to the people, the better, and the smaller the units, the better. The Canadian provinces started their plans before a national single payer plan was adopted. Perhaps this is the way to go — start to build plans locally. For modern government may have computers, faxes and every conceivable technical device, but it has failed to cope well with the staggering costs, both monetary and human, of bureaucracy. So perhaps we must concentrate more on government procedures and make government responsive to the human beings it is intended to serve in the first place.

Funding is another important consideration. Where do we get the money? Some countries have imposed value added taxes (a national sales tax). This is one possibility. Also, a small payroll tax on employee and employer plus moneys collected from general taxation are other possible sources of revenue. Whatever moneys are raised go into a Health Trust Fund, separate from other revenues. The Wellstone/Conyers bill calls for such a fund.

This bill also covers the following: universal access, hospitals, physicians, dental care, long-term care, prescription drugs, preventive care and mental health care benefits. It has the indispensible “choice” element — patients would be able to choose any doctor.

An important issue for movement people is reimbursement of alternative modalities, such as chiropractic, acupuncture and herbal treatments. The writer, however, is unable to say whether the Wellstone/Conyers bill has provisions for reimbursement for such treatments. If not, we should pressure the bill's sponsors to recognize the importance of including coverage of such therapies.

Unfortunately, the single payer plan was defeated in Congress early on by advocates of managed competition, and those favoring building on employer plans already in place. All Congressional plans focus on the employer as the financial agent and conduit for health insurance, either through sharing costs with employees or through taking on the major cost (up to 80%) of health insurance. Employer coverage has major disadvantages.

  1. The unemployed, partially employed and indigent are provided for in a special category (usually inadequately), and are placed in expanded Medicare, Part C. Some expansion is financed by cutting Medicare. Are we envious of the hard-won gains of the elderly in the 60s?
  2. Coverage by big companies will be more comprehensive than that by small companies because they can get “better deals” from insurance companies.
  3. An employee's fate is determined by his/her employer. Companies want to save money. They are therefore in the forefront of the movement to change to HMOs. As consumers of health care we want free choice — to stay with our own doctors or to look outside of HMO territory, and to be covered by insurance.
  4. Paternalism is very much alive. Remember company unions that were hardly unions. Now we have company health plans.

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Most importantly, Congressional plans fail to recognize that universal coverage is insufficient.   We want universal access to choice and quality medical care for all.

For war tax resisters, many of whom have low-paying, part-time or temporary work, we cannot overestimate the importance of health coverage. Most of us live precariously, on the edge of society, and one major illness can push us over the brink. For all Americans, a decent, universal health plan promises a better quality of life. A wealthy country that fails to provide for its people is doomed to reap the terrible costs of its failure in mounting social strife and disintegration.

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This site last updated on January 21, 2003.