Tag Archives: tax dollars

USA: AN UNHAPPY STATE OF AFFAIRS AND WHY WE STAND ON TAX DAY

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ONCE AGAIN, we stood outside NYC Federal Office on TAX DAY, April 15th, organized by the War Resisters League with support from Granny Peace Brigade, Raging Grannies, Bud’s Filthy Rotten System, Paul’s accordion, and many others to say, “No more taxes for war!” Since 2001 USA has spent $5.6 TRILLION on WAR: $32 MILLION per hour, and $24,000 per taxpayer!** And ironically 60 companies, all making huge profit, like Amazon, Honeywell, GM, paid $0 in Taxes. People pay while companies profit! Say NO to our huge Defense/war budget. Invest in PEACE.

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What does it mean: invest in peace? If we look at our neighbor Canada, basically their tax rates are similar to USA, maybe a bit more in some categories. What do they get for their tax dollars: free health care for everyone, low drug prices, up to 18 months of subsidized parental leave when they have children, good quality public education, less costly colleges and universities and Canada is in the top 10 countries in the “happiness index.” Canada spends 1.3% of its GDP on Defense.*** Similar benefits are found throughout Europe.

How does US fare? In the “happiness index” US continues to decline, in 2019 falling from the 18th place to 19th place. *** What are the variables: income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy. What are we getting for our tax dollars: the strongest military in the world, with our defense budget more than that of the 11 top other countries combined. And every year this goes up, not down. In one way or other almost half our countries tax dollars goes to support defense, the veterans past and present, over 800 bases world-wide and active military action currently in over 70 countries.
And so, what does this leave us with? Just a few ways it affects our lives:
—US life expectancy is lower than in Canada and has dropped for the second year in a row according to CDC and is other comparable countries.
—Infant mortality rates 71% higher than comparable countries (Europe/Japan)
—A rising maternal mortality rate due to preventable causes (it is declining in most other countries) and highest among comparable countries
—32 million still without health coverage; most families paying high costs for health insurance for incomplete coverage; high drug costs;
—130 estimated die daily from opioid overdose. In 2017, over 70,000 people in US died from opioid overdose. The figures have been rising steadily from the 1990’s.
—Over 1.2 million students drop-out of high school yearly. 2000 schools in the country graduate less than 60% of their students. The US which used to have high graduation rates now ranks 22 out of 27 developed countries. Low investments in public education are found throughout the country.
—And then, high income inequality, low wages/wages not livable, decaying infrastructure, environmental degradation ranging from lead in pipes in schools and homes to elimination of regulations which protect our air, water, land and so much more.
—USA spends 3 times or 3.1% of GDP on Defense.

And all of this and more cannot be adequately addressed because we allow our Congress to allocate more and more to the military-industrial complex which profits well and enables our giving and selling more weapons for wars and bases all over the world.

Keep calling your members of Congress. Say NO to $800 billion defense budget. Say NO to $$$ trillions to upgrade our nuclear weapons capacity. Say YES to using our tax dollars to invest in our children, our environment.

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THIS IS WHY WE STAND ON TAX DAY AND OTHER DAYS TO SAY: END ENDLESS WARS.

– Marty Rajandran
– Photos: Eva-Lee Baird, Linda Novenski & Marty Rajandran
for the Granny Peace Brigade

**Source: Stephanie Savell, co director of the Cost of War Project at Brown University and as published in OtherWords, 21 March, 2018.

***The World Happiness Reporta is an annual publication of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Ms. Gizmo on the Last Day for Voter Registration

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Friday, October 12, 2012 Ms. Gizmo had another good day in Harlem, a little different this time. Well, every day is different.

2012_10_12_gizmo125st_1(Click on the photos for larger images.)

However, Friday Ms. Gizmo shared her table with Voter Registration. After all, this was the last day to register for voting.

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As many as 24 people registered to vote for the presidential election.

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And many more people participated in our opinion poll. It was a very busy day for Ms. Gizmo and friends (Edith, Eva-Lee, Jennie, Joan, Marty, Phyllis and Susan G) with good energy and intelligent conversations as well.

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The weather is getting cooler now and the crisp autumn air was invigorating. At 1:30 pm we counted pennies and had a delicious lunch at Manna’s Soul Food and Salad Bar on 125th St. east of Lenox Ave.  Mmmmm that food is good.

And here are the results:
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– Susan Goodman
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Chart: Edith Cresmer
Photos: Eva-Lee Baird

Spend Tax Dollars on Education, Jobs, Housing!

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On Friday, September 14, 2012 Ms. Gizmo went to 125th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem, and a good time was had by all.

2012_09_14gizmo125street(Click on the photos for larger images.)

The people of the neighborhood were sympathetic to our survey, and those who participated did so with enthusiasm. One woman thought so highly of Ms. Gizmo that she started calling people who were waiting for a bus to come and do the survey. And I was pleasantly surprised when a woman who appeared on the scene turned out to be an old friend of mine.

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You never know who you’re going to meet when you’re out with Ms. Gizmo. She gives out good vibes.
– Susan Goodman

It was at the end of a really good day at Lenox and 125th Street. And then two policemen came sauntering towards us. They didn’t seem to mind what we were doing and so I approached the one with a smile on his face and asked if he would like to participate. As usual, I had the 20 coins ready in my hand to give them quickly to those expressing any sort of interest. But, he quickly put his hand in his pocket and then with a bit of friendly “encouragement” from my side, he said I could put all the coins in for him. I asked where and he replied “All in jobs.” I asked if wanted to see the other choices and when he saw them, he changed his mind: “Half education, half jobs.”

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He watched what I did, and then sauntered off with his partner. In discussing this later, we realized that policemen are not allowed to participate in such activities directly,…but as we found out today, those interested in expressing their opinions do find a way to do so with Ms. Gizmo!
-Marty Rajandran

2012_09_14gizmo125street_chartChart: Edith Cresmer
Photos: Eva-Lee Baird

P.S.  Afterward, Edith, Eva-Lee, Marty and Susan G. had lunch and counted the pennies at a salad bar nearby.  The food there was good too.

Ms. Gizmo at the East Harlem Teen Fair

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Ms. Gizmo returned today to a favorite place – the East Harlem Teen Fair, organized each August by City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito with other sponsors.  Teen Service agencies set up information tables along East 104th Street and every year the turnout grows.

(Click on the photos for larger images.)

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In this family setting, teenagers and young adults learn about options to the military recruiters who abound in that neighborhood. There’s music and entertainment, and the Grannies are always greeted with a warm reception.

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Today 116 participated in Ms Gizmo and kids and Moms collaborated, carefully deciding just where to deposit those pennies.
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Guess which column got the most pennies?  It starts with an “E”

2012_08_28gizmochart_teenfair– Nydia Leaf
for the Granny Peace Brigade
Photos: Eva-Lee Baird
Chart: Edith Cresmer

Ms. Gizmo in Verdi Square

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We were in the shade in Verdi Square, but barely a leaf was moving.  In spite of the temperature and the sultry day, folks stopped to register their opinions and discuss the needs of we the people.

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Big sister telling little sister (hidden by the tubes), with grandmother and mother looking-on, that money is needed for education.

2012_08_03_2High school musician from Cherry Hill, NJ enthusiastically spoke about the importance of music and how it should be supported.

2012_08_03_1Grannies engaged in a lengthy discussion about the inordinate amount of tax dollars allocated for U.S. war efforts while funds for domestic needs have rapidly diminished.

The results show that today’s voters agree with the GPB.

2012_08_03gizmochartPhotos and Captions: Phyllis Cunningham
Chart: Edith Cresmer
for the Granny Peace Brigade

Best Use of Tax Dollars – Education? War?

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A week of grim news.  The terrible carnage wrought by a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.  Syria in shambles.  And here at home, conservative wing-nuts are waging war on us women.  How do we combat this onslaught of negativity?  Maybe getting ourselves out in the public arena will help, and what better location than Union Square.  So what if it’s raining — the subway station is big, busy and makes a great place to set up shop with Ms. Gizmo.

At first, we don’t seem to be connecting — but Edith and Nancy start hustling the crowd and Bev and Joan are on the banner…and before you know it, our street-mojo kicks in and there’s a line at the table.  A young photographer with a great smile wants to take some photographs, then he takes a stack of pennies and starts feeding Ms. G.  Once again, we are dazzled by the smarts of the Average Joe and Josephine.

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These folks really think about the best use of our tax dollars. Now if only the people in Washington making the real budget decisions were as responsible and humane…

A very special shout-out to Eva-Lee, who did the impossible — she actually got a Man In A Suit to stop, hear our pitch and participate.

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And to this unknown gentleman, you blew us all away with your thoughtful allocation of pennies.  Thank you, sir.  You are a rare breed.

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Until next time — and in peace always,

– Fran Sears

Photos 1 & 2: Eva-Lee Baird
Photo 3: Caroline Chinlund
Chart: Edith Cresmer

for The Granny Peace Brigade