Politics of Poverty

Should the next big mobilization focus on taxes?

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Oxfam staff and friends at the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017. Photo: Oxfam America

The next big march should be on Tax Day.

In the warm glow of what may have been the largest protests in US history, there are already rumblings that the next big mobilization should take place on April 15th, also known as Tax Day. This is a good idea.

So far those advocating for a Tax Day march have focused on using the day to pressure President Trump to release his tax returns. But there’s another reason to mobilize on April 15th: President Trump and the new Congress have as one of their top priorities, passing a fantastically regressive tax reform bill that would fuel even greater inequality in the US and around the world.

The debate over tax reform is generally banished to the nether regions of Wonkland because statistically 38 percent of the population becomes involuntarily catatonic the moment the word “statutory” enters any discussion (I made that up). But in spite of its poindexter-ish reputation, tax is actually the perfect big tent issue. There is literally no area of our lives that is not in some way influenced by the way we are taxed.

Do you care about healthcare, the environment, gender equality or jobs? Then you should care about taxes. Do you care about the criminal justice system, the rights of people with disabilities or human rights? Then you should care about taxes. Do you care about immigration, national security, refugee rights or global poverty? Then you should care about taxes.

For those who want to make it personal, about whether President Trump should adequately disclose his financial dealings so citizens can understand whether his decisions are motivated by public interest or self-interest, a Tax Day march is great for you too! After all, President Trump did brag about not paying taxes, so here’s a good chance to show him that lots of people disagree.

Tax may be technical and nerdy, but it also could be incredibly unifying for a disparate movement looking to voice a variety of reasons they are worried about the direction they see our country heading.

So, anyone working to organize a Tax Day march? Sign me up.

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