Tax Refund: How Defunding the Police Would Get More Support

Money Matters and Black Lives Matter
Money Matters and Black Lives Matter
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Portland, Oregon 97204

Everyone likes money, so why don't people argue that if the police are defunded that the money should go to a tax refund? A proposed refund would almost certainly broaden the appeal of defunding police far more than the current proposal of re-investing the money into "black futures" (https://www.uniteoregon.org/defund_ppb_special_units). Protesters chant their proposal on a nightly basis demanding that the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) budget be slashed "50% at least" and saying "were should that money go? To black communities." What is wrong with investing in black communities? Absolutely nothing, but unfortunately not everyone likes black people and everyone likes money.


According to Unite Oregon 1/3 of the City of Portland's budget goes to policing. According to KGW that 1/3 amounts to about $242 million* so if the PPB budget were cut in half the city would save about $121 million. According to the U.S. Census Bureau** the population of Portland is roughly 650,000 people. If that $121 million were divided up evenly then every Portland resident would stand to gain about $186. That might not sound like much, but we are in the middle of an economic depression right now and that $186 could help an unemployed homeless person eat for a month, it could make the difference between paying rent or ending up homeless for some, or in the case of CopBlaster.com it would pay for all our domain registration expenses this year plus all of our hosting expenses this month. There are of course those who would say that the refund amount should be based on how much people payed in taxes in the first place, but to estimate how much people would get using that type of scale we would need to consult a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and do not have it in our budget to do so for the limited purpose of getting an expert quote for this article. We would argue that everyone should get an equal refund since those that would get more back than they paid in really need the money and it is the least people could do to help their fellow Portlanders right now.


Think about what you could do with that $186 and ask yourself if that would be worth knowing that the police were only funded enough to respond to calls where they were really needed. They would still be there when someone breaks into your house, but they would not be there to harass you for petty infractions like driving a too fast, stumbling around drunk, or making a lot of noise. You would be free to live your life so long as you paid your debts, didn't steal anything, or physically harm anyone, plus you would have an extra $186 in your pocket. Some might say that they have always worked hard, paid their debts, refrained from stealing, and have never hurt anyone anyway so why should they care? They should care because odds are someone they care about has been arrested or hit with some outrageous fine for something petty that left them thinking that they deserved to be punished in some way for breaking the law but not nearly as badly as they were. They might think it could never happen to them and don't care enough about their friends or family members to support defunding until they realize they would get a good chunk of change themselves.


Right now the demand to defund police and reinvest that money into communities of color reeks of cultural Marxism to many. For those of you that don't know what cultural Marxism is, cultural Marxism is the redistribution of wealth (or advocacy thereof) from one historically wealthy ethnic group to historically marginalized groups. It gets its name from traditional Marxism (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxism) which involved the redistribution of wealth from the wealthy ruling class to the proletariat a.k.a. poor working people. That is why conservatives are quick to label groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter as communists because they advocate for a Marxist style redistribution of wealth based on cultural identity. People that oppose defunding the police because they view such proposals from groups like Antifa and BLM as Marxist would be far more likely to support it if they were to benefit from the defunding directly. Conservatives almost always argue for smaller government, lower taxes, and tax refunds, all of which they would get from defunding the police provided the money went back to the people in the form of tax refunds and tax cuts. Then one could argue that defunding police by half would save the people of Portland $121 million a year.


We already support defunding the police for the same reason we believe that all lives don't matter until black lives matter. As long as our government is permitted to deprive any group of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without due process then everyone is in danger of being similarly deprived. When laws are changed to protect minorities from being denied the equal protection of the laws then everyone benefits except those in power that are abusive. The effects always trickle down and in the long run everyone is left with laws they can cite when their rights are violated. Unfortunately, many people are too short sighted to see that and require a more immediate benefit for themselves directly to support change. We believe that tax refunds and tax cuts would create sufficient benefits to persuade most people to support defunding police.


People rarely are able to get everything they want right away, so baby steps are often needed. When defunding the police is the primary goal it makes sense to sacrifice secondary goals if necessary to achieve the primary objective.


*https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/portland-budget-police-reform-vote/283-22facc7d-1010-4a3a-b081-f29300dfc784

**https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/portlandcityoregon


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