Editor's note: This letter was originally published 10 years ago today.
It's often been said that freedom isn't free, but that isn't true. While many of our country's finest young men and women are paying for our freedom by serving multiple combat tours in foreign countries, many other young folks are at home sitting on the couch and playing video games. These couch commandoes need to help pay their fair share of the cost of freedom.
I suggest that when all able-bodied, sound-minded people reach the age of 25 and haven't any documented military service on their record, that they then be assessed an annual freedom fee. Said fee could be a nominal amount, say maybe $500 a year for a period of 20 years.
This fee would really help to reduce the national debt and would provide a means for these free-riders to pay for their ticket on the freedom train. The fee could be collected in conjunction with the annual income-tax filings to reduce the paperwork involved in tracking the payments. In fact, in some cases the $500 could just be deducted from the individual's income-tax refund. What could be fairer than having every capable person pay his annual fee to support freedom?
It's been said, "Some gave all," and I say, "Now, all can give some."
DONALD R. SHORT