The Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) hosted “Ax the Tax” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Thad Cochran Center at The University of Southern Mississippi on April 19, 2017.
YAL’s purpose of “Ax the Tax” was to educate Southern Miss students about personal freedoms and the role of the economy in their lives. At the event, the group discussed the effectiveness of the current U.S. Tax code, which is 75,000 pages, and how they believed it should be reduced to accommodate all American citizens. Junior anthropology and history major Hunter Richardson said at the event the group held a demonstration of “axing the tax.”
“We had 20,000 pieces of paper to represent the tax code stacked on a table and allowed students to hit it with a foam axe,” Richardson said. “Many students seemed interested in reducing the amount of tax code.”
According to YAL’s website, the mission of the event was to identify, educate, train and mobilize youth activists committed to “winning on principle. Richardson said “winning of principle” is the training of leaders who stand by their principles and do not abandon them.
Former YAL State Chair and graduate student of mathematics Tavish Kelly said any law so long and complicated that even the government doesn’t understand it is inherently arbitrary,” Kelly said. “The current tax code should be replaced with clear and concise legislation that the average American can understand.”
According to YAL’s website, chapters are encouraged to schedule their own #AxTheTax event to take place during tax season.
“In 1913, our whole tax law was 27 pages,” the website wrote. “It’s now more than 4 million words and 9,000 bloated pages. From 2001 – 2012 alone, there were 4,600 changes – more than one a day.”
YAL has hosted several events, including the “Free speech Ball Roll.” YAL invited students to write anything they wanted on a ball and rolled it outside of the Free Speech zone on campus. Another event the organization hosted was Your Life, Your Right, a dodgeball game where one side represented “law abiding citizens” who had no dodge balls and the other side represented criminals who had dodgeballs.
YAL wants to host future events including a “Trump Bake Sale” which demonstrates the effects of tariffs on foreign and domestic goods, “The Wheel of Liberty” which is a trivia game regarding policies, rights, myths and laws.
According to YAL’s website, the organization maintains 900 chapters with more than 300,000 members on college campuses nationwide. Students interested in learning more about YAL at Southern Miss can visit the Thad Cochran Center or the LAB on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their tabling events or visit the national organization’s website at yaliberty.org. Southern Miss YAL hosts meetings every Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Petra Cafe.