Monday, February 13, 2017

Little ways to #resist with your wallet and taxes

With many of us filing our taxes in the near future and organizing our plans for 2017 travels, here are a few things you can do with your taxes and spending habits that can give a nice kick to this corrupt and regressive state and federal government. If done right, it will both feel good and hurt the fiscal numbers, which might waken enough bystanders out of their slumber to put these slimeballs out of business.

1. Adjust your withholding. Maybe you take 1 or 2 more allowances than you need to on your W-4 check, and maybe you ask for extra money to be taken out, in the hopes that you'll get a large refund when you file. Well, why give Scott Walker and Donald Trump the extra funds before you have to? Drop down to 1 allowance (or even 0) and remove that extra withholding to put it in your pocket. I stepped up and did this a few weeks ago, and am glad to take home an extra $20 - $30 a paycheck for the time being. Since we're already in tax year 2017, there won't be any effect on what you get for more than a year, and if enough people do this, it'll lower income tax collections for Fiscal Year 2017 (which closes in June on the state side, and September for the feds). If there was a shortfall in income taxes, it would cause significant complications for the tax-cutting and spending plans for both Walker and Trump, which wouldn't be such a bad thing.

2. Use your FSA and other reimbursements. This is obviously an "if" if you work at a job that only allows you to sign up for these pre-tax deductions once a year, but if you can adjust things throughout the year, this could be a good spot to do it. Spending more money than expected with parking? Up the allowance! Deductibles screwing you over with a new health plan? Take out more in your FSA. Ride the bus to work? Get your expenses paid back! And if you're really cool, maybe front-load your deductions for the first half of the year, so less is being taken out before the end of the June 30 Fiscal Year, and then you make it up on the back end by reducing the pre-tax deductions.

3. Keep track of your "charity" donations. Did you get pissed after the election and threw money to non-profit news organizations like the Center for Media and Democracy or ProPublica, or gave to Planned Parenthood to preserve needed services or gave to the ACLU to fight these regressives in court? Or did you thank the One Wisconsin Institute for reinstating early voting? Find that email and keep those receipts, because you can write off most if not all of those donations on your taxes. And it creates a nice second way to stick it to these Thugs- robbing their government of your tax money. Why not? The Kochs and Bradleys do it with fake charities and stink tanks all the time. The least you can do is follow suit by giving money to the good guys who need it and will use it to help society as oppose to wreck it. Also track what you've given this year, and tank FY 2018 collections as well.

4. Cut your spending. If you can, even a small decrease in what you spend could add up to a lot if others follow suit. Maybe bank the extra money you're pulling down from your paycheck from using Option 1, or use the money to pay off debt. Those moves don't create any new economic activity, and if done right, would also speed the inevitable deficit and economic slowdown that will occur. A recession or even lack of a Trump Boom in the next 2 years would likely be the coup de gras for both Trump and Walker, who are relying on Bubble-driven growth to carry them through to 2018. Why not help to make it so?

5. Change where you spend your money This map by UW-Eau Claire's Ryan Weichelt is a good guide if you feel particularly vengeful about this election.

A lot of those places in red need our tourism dollars, and rely on the great natural scenery of their areas, but they just voted to screw this state and this country. Why not let them feel some consequence for their foolishness? For several years, I've decided to avoid spending cash in the stupidly-red WOW Counties around Milwaukee, and support the blue-voting Milwaukee instead. Sure, in the big picture it probably does little more than give me a small grin and clear conscience, but if enough people step up and divert their spending to places that deserve it, or take one fewer trip to the cabin up North? Let's see if they might have to howl when they need to replace that revenue.

In addition, note the many blue cities on the map. This includes places like Green Bay, Appleton, Sheboygan, Oshkosh, Wauwatosa, Racine, Kenosha, Baraboo, Viroqua and Sturgeon Bay. These are communities that did their part on Election Day, and so if you have to spend money in those red-voing areas, maybe concentrate your spending there as opposed to other parts of the red-voting county.

There's another way you can affect things economically- cook out and eat at home when you visit these areas instead of going out, and bring your beer/booze with you. This means you won't be adding to the sales tax revenues that these areas rely on even more than most parts of Wisconsin, and as we saw in Wood County this last year, when an area sees a drop in sales tax revenue, it frequently means significant property tax increases and a decline in services. Many of these Walker/Trump voting places won't learn the lesson till they feel the pain themselves, so again, why not speed that along?

Sure, these are relatively mean-spirited and it may not be possible for you to follow some or any of these recommendations, given your specific situation. But if you have the chance, and you can convince a group of others to follow suit in a way that could help drive eventual change, wouldn't it seem like a worthy sacrifice?


  1. I live in one of those "Up North" counties that vote Republican, and had the "pleasure" of finding out who they were during the recall. Businesses that put out candidate signs are showing people their choices. I use my choice by not supporting them with my money. I have been doing this since Walker was elected. I do not feel deprived of anything. I shop at neutral places that I called to check on and I believe there is still a Walker donor list of businesses whose products I also will not purchase. I have always had the philosophy that the only way to get people's attention is to hit them in their pocketbooks. All the boycotts of places that take unpopular stands on issues like LGBT discrimination, racism etc, seem to work. I will continue to withhold my dollars from those businesses. I do wish others would do the same.

    1. Well stated. Keep fighting the good fight, and use your dollars as a weapon.