A Tax Day “The U.S. Deficit Debate is a Crime” Demonstration organized by the American Friends Service Committee and cosponsored by Jobs Now!; Kansas City Federation of Teacher; Occupy KC; PeaceWorks, KC; and Physicians for Social Responsibility-KC took place on Monday, April 15, from 11:30am to 1:00pm at the corner of 12th Street and Main, KCMO.

     The groups engaged in street theater, creating a “crime scene” including body outlines labeled “Jobs,” and “Education” representing the many victims of the dishonest deficit debate.  A 25-foot banner depicting the U.S. discretionary budget was also displayed.

     The motivation for the Tax Day demonstration came from the recognition that the focus on debt and the deficit instead of creating jobs and investing in a healthy economy is killing jobs, increasing unemployment, stalling economic recovery and creating increased human suffering.

     The event was located outside the Bank of American building to draw attention to the fact that the focus on deficit and attacks on crucial government programs and services has been orchestrated by groups like “Fix the Debt.” This front group is funded by over 150 corporations, including Bank of America and by billionaires who have chosen to sacrifice the public and the economy for their own gain.

     Ira Harritt, Kansas City Program Coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, commented, “Tax Day is the perfect time for citizens to speak out to refocus the debate in Washington away from deficit reduction and to the things important to us - job creation, and investing in people and our future. The deficit is not the problem. Budget priorities are the problem.

     We, as a nation, are not broke. We have enough to create a healthy economy; to pay a fair wage; to educate our children and enable them to enter the work force without oppressive debt. Focusing on the deficit is killing jobs and making things worse for the residents of Kansas City.

     Instead of cutting crucial programs like social security and Medicare, which are not the problem, we need establish tax policy where all pay their fair share and cut excessive Pentagon spending, which has doubled in the past decade.”

The message of the demonstration was: 

We’re Not Broke! 
We Don’t Need to Cut Social Security, Medicare and Human Needs Programs!

We need to:

  • Cut Pentagon Waste (The Pentagon budget has doubled in the past decade. It funds programs like the overdue, over budget and still not working $1.5 trillion F-35 fighter that even the Defense Department doesn’t want. And Pentagon spending produces fewer jobs than investment in other sectors.)
  • Close Tax Loopholes & Create Policies Where All Pay Their Fair Share!
  • Invest In Jobs, Education And Our Future!  

For more information interested persons can contact American Friends Service Committee at 816 931-5256, afsckc@afsc.org or go to www.afsc.org/kansascity.

     Following the Tax Day demonstration at a 1:30pm AFSC and representatives from endorsing groups testified before the Finance and Audit Committee of the Jackson County Legislature on the Move the Money Campaign, focused on changing the U.S. Budget Debate and actions. Testimony was made buy

Rev. Ester Holzendorf, Consolidated Social Work Services; Dave Kingsley, Gray Panthers; Dave Pack, AFSC and Peaceworks; KC and Dr. Wayne Letizia, Communities Creating Opportunity; and  Ira Harritt, American Friends Service Committee Program Coordinator. Legislators Scott Burnett, committee chair, Theresa Garza Ruiz and Crystal Williams heard testimony and expressed interest and concern over the information presented.

The Jackson County hearing follows the passage of a Move the Money resolution (NO. 130246) adopted unanimously by the KCMO City Council on April 11. (More information at> https://afsc.org/story/kcmo-passes-move-money-resolution )