Effective Witness

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Dear Editor: 

I read the article from Vickie Aldrich about her letters to the IRS. I can understand her frustration, but Friends need to realize the IRS is a collection agency for the US Government, no more, no less. The IRS does not make the laws about the tax rates. The IRS cannot and does not determine US policy on the military nor set the budget for military expenditures. The IRS has no influence over Congress, no matter how many letters Friends write refusing to pay taxes. The IRS just collects money and deposits it into the Treasury.

You may feel good that your own money is not going to be used for military purposes. You may feel that your conscience is clear. But the budget for the military will not be reduced by the amount you withhold – the money for the military will probably come out of domestic spending and social services. And the military budget will not be reduced by the extra money that the IRS spends in communicating back and forth with war tax resisters – that also comes from the non-military discretionary part of the budget. Further, the extra penalties and interest you pay may be used for increased military spending, if the Congress decides to do so.

A more effective witness is to write to or talk with your representatives in Congress. If you don't want to pay your taxes, tell Congress. Campaign for, and vote for, men and women willing to take a stand against military spending - or run for office yourself. Make your voice heard in Washington. Protest if you think it is the best way, but protest to the people who can affect policy, not by quietly writing letters to a bureaucrat in the IRS.

Nancy Haines

Member, Wellesley (Massachusetts) Friends Meeting