To The Reader's Forum:
Mr. Hammond's reply to my letter on the false notion of lost freedom makes some inaccurate statements that deserve a response. First, while many of the founding fathers feared the concentration of power in a central government, it was due to their experience with the tyrannical British monarchy. However, many early leaders actually wanted George Washington to become an American king; fortunately, he refused. The early leaders ultimately decided on a two-pronged, Constitutional approach: one was deciding that all powers not reserved for the federal government would be reserved for the states and the second was to create three branches of a federal government that would provide for checks and balances within the central government.
As a state right, the Second Amendment was created to guarantee that the people of states could "bear arms" and form state militias (national guards), which could, and still do, have the right to arm themselves to the same degree as the federal army. However, as I noted, the Second Amendment has been recently interpreted to grant individuals greater self-defense rights, but not to form personal militias. Both the states and individuals have more firepower than ever to ward of any conceivable notion of tyranny. I think a quarter of a millennia experience with our system is rather strong evidence, not arrogance, that the fear of tyranny by armed force takes a wild imagination.
As to taxation, it appears Mr. Hammond's primary concerns are with waste and interests. However, IRS does not administer government programs; its function is to receive funds for the US Treasury and distribute funds according to the wishes of Congress and the administration. IRS does not create deficits, lawmakers do - they underfund the obligations they create. Also, there is no real difference between state, local and federal taxes and "specific interests of the taxpayers" - the only distinction is the level and nature of expense. Waste occurs at every level of government, even where there is full funding.
I'm all for controlling waste, but the difference between me and Mr. Hammond is more about our interests. In my opinion, the only glue that keeps all the states connected as a nation is shared interests supported by national taxation. He opposes collective taxation that sends some of his money to "another state", while I generally support it - for things like national parks, safe skies, and clean air and water all over this land.