A Young Plea for Tax Relief

The following is an open letter to the president.

Dear President Clinton,

Since I am only 18, I haven't a great deal of experience with writing to presidents or lobbying public officials, but I am composing this short note because I think you are out of touch with people like me.

This year, I will vote for the first time, but for the last year and a half I have been earning a paycheck, and I found out that the IRS takes a significant portion of my money before I even see it. I will be starting college at the end of this month. Your IRS has made it more difficult for me to save for my tuition and books. You offer all these scholarships and loans, so other taxpayers can send me to college, but if I were keeping more of what I earn, that wouldn't be necessary.

Mr. President, 25 years after their wedding my parents are still married. But like many couples, they struggle every month to meet their modest mortgage payment. They often cannot find the money to pay the utility bill, and other obligations are sometimes late. Financial stress has put a lot of pressure on my parents' marriage. Sums that may seem insignificant to you are substantial to us. The elimination of the marriage tax penalty could pay the mortgage for my parents one month, it could buy a new computer, it could pay some of my college bills (an option I would lobby for).

You say the congressional tax relief package is too drastic. I don't agree. Out here in Middle America, keeping a little more of my money sounds pretty good. I am not an economist, but I can't figure out how a $792 billion tax cut will break the bank in a country that spends . . . let me see, perhaps you could refresh my memory, how many trillion a year? Yes, I know we have a huge national debt, but when my family has a debt to pay, we have to cut our spending in order to meet our obligations. We can't just demand more money from our employer, can we? What kind of spending can be cut from the budget? I'll bet you can find some wasted money in there somewhere. Use that to meet the government's obligation to its creditors. Use that to give my grandparents their Social Security checks. But don't take my tax cut.

It looks like this Congress knows how much I need to keep a little more of my own money. If you don't understand that, Mr. President, I hope they will take a lesson from history and be courageous enough to do whatever it takes to make sure I get to keep the money that I have earned. My representatives have voted to give me back a small portion of what I have earned. If you, with your veto pen, deny me that tax cut, then I hope that my senators and congressman will, in the spirit of the Boston Tea Party, shut down the government to show you just how important this issue is to me.

EVE MARIE BARNER

Hillsboro