Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tax Day, and the Fight-for-15 protest: a walk through unshared sacrifice


Early evening on Tax Day (and one day after I had rushed an amended return, as I discovered a major omission on my 2014 taxes, although the mathematical effect turned out to be small) I took a walk down from GWU, with a nice salmon dinner at Quigley’s and seeing the end of the Nats holding onto one game in Fenway – on Boston Marathon Day.  And, going toward the Lincoln Memorial and then the Martin Luther King site near the Tidal Basin (most of the cherry blossoms down), I took a hike (with an aching hip) through unfairness.


I note a man, a decade younger than me, had been arrested for landing his gyrocopter on the White House lawn, having flown from Pennsylvania, wanting to protest corrupt government and crony capitalism, I guess.  Let me add, I don’t have a problem with income tax rates – I come all right on those – but I do with the complexity and the time doing the returns takes. Steve Forbes and his flat tax comes to mind.


I passed the Vietnam War Memorial, a period marked by a military draft with deferments for the “Erudite” – “me” of sorts, where I had “served without serving”.  The over to the Korean War memorial, with a much more conspicuous display of battlefield soldiers in sculpture.  But both memorials emphasized African American exposure to the risks of war.


I then hobbled (past a softball game) to the MLK memorial and the “Fight for 15” rally (site)  covers rallies around the nation).  It was small, and there was some song-singing.  The overwhelming culture was labor solidarity and collective.  Sure, people will have babies they can’t afford.  People need to make $15 an hour. 


What I didn’t see was the old Maoist idea that we should all take our turn at hard labor  That won’t happen.  But that used to be the call in the past. My own father used to preach that manual labor provides virtue.  

There was a "join up" table with souvenirs. 
I did pass by a McDonald's last night, did not stop or eat there, but there seemed to be no strike and people were working -- for minimum wage, like Barbara Ehrenreich in "Nickel and Dimed". 

Update: April 25

CNN and WJLA report a story of a homeless man working in the Senate cafeteria but living in the streets of Washington DC, link here.  He makes $11 an hour but reportedly gives money to relatives and grandchildren anyway. 

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