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I used to hear about taxpayers protesting by withholding taxes, or withholding part of their taxes. In the tradition of Thoreau, and maybe of others before him, they said they didn't want their money going to pay for a war (or for a particularly evil or unjustified war.) Now the rulers of my country go to war without paying for it. When Congress doesn't pass military spending bills, troops go to war without armor and come back without medical care, but they still go.

There's a line on the state tax form now, asking for voluntary contributions to the "Mass Military Family Relief Fund." It's supposed to help pay for food, housing, and medical care for members of the state National Guard and their families, where people have been called up since September 11, 2001. I wonder if the specification is because it's a new fund, or because those are the ones more likely to be called to serve far away. Or if the whole arrangement is an attempt to compensate for the flexible new rules about how long a person in the Guard can be called up. I read about the disaster at the Walter Reed hospital, and it seems like trying to keep money away from the military wouldn't stop them...it would end up hurting too many of the wrong people. I don't know how much good this Military Family Relief Fund does, or how much collateral damage it might do by helping a fundamentally unworkable system to limp along a little longer.

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adrian_turtle

March 2016

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