Chuck Hosking and Mary Ann Fiske won't be paying personal income taxes this year. In fact, it's been two decades since they've had to. The couple married in 1971 after meeting in New York City's lower east side, and a deliberate process of downward mobility has been a part of their life together from the beginning. Their annual income is well below the $15,800 taxable minimum for a married couple, and every year they donate over half of what they earn to charities in impoverished nations, such as giving thousands of dollars annually to a health clinic in Nicaragua.
As we go through the yearly ritual of glumly assessing our own tax bills, we are simultaneously digesting news of war in strong daily doses: increasing fatalities, fresh conflicts and the startling numbers associated with funding on-going military endeavors. Military spending, which had been on a modest decline through most of the '90s, is again rising sharply. And we are paying for it.