Below is the letter I sent to local newspapers before tax day in 1992.

To the Editor:

Today I sat down to begin deciding how to give away $664. I felt warm inside to be able to give my money to support valuable projects in my community, nationally and internationally. Programs for battered women, food for the hungry, housing for people in need, the Alternatives to Violence Project, environmental protection, education for peace and medical aid to victims of war will benefit. It would be wonderful if everyone could use their money to support the things they believe in.

Unfortunately, that isn't true for most people. People pay taxes which seem quite high (though they really aren't when compared with many other industrialized nations). And what do we get back for all this money? Despite the end of the Cold War, 54% of what is paid in Federal Income Tax this year will support current and past military spending.

The "peace dividend" has disappeared, with President Bush saying that, "Peace is enough of a dividend." I don't believe this, and I don't think that unemployed auto workers, people without health insurance, the homeless or many others agree with him either. His proposal to cut military spending by $50 billion over six years is meaningless when we recall that this follows 12 years of tremendous increases in military spending. The military budget must be cut drastically--given the changes in the world political/military situation, an immediate 50% reduction is reasonable.

Unfortunately, our "democratic" political process doesn't seem to provide us with candidates willing to truly challenge the standard political thinking. That leaves it up to ordinary people like you and I to look inside ourselves and decide what we need to do to make the world a more peaceful and just place. Since I refuse to obey my government's orders to pick up a gun and go kill people, it seems only consistent that I refuse to give them the money to do it.

The many problems of our world often seem overwhelming. And as individuals, or small groups, we are told in many ways that our opinions and actins don't matter. Yet, I know in my heart that we can create a more just and peaceful world. Redirecting the money I owe in federal taxes to support worthwhile social projects is one small step towards creating that world now.


Andy Mager