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Congress may not be as surprised as they appear relative to the recent disclosures of theGestapo-like activities of the IRS, for they know full-well both the primary mission of the IRS and the techniques employed to achieve that mission.

The primary mission, as revealed in the IRS' own statements, is to encourage a high level of voluntary compliance with the federal tax regulations through a system of individual voluntary self-assessment and payment.

What better way to "encourage" volunteerism than for the Treasury Department to enact tax regulations that are complicated and incomprehensible to accountants and tax attorneys, let alone the average person?

Then the IRS holds the threat of a tax audit over the heads of people, who often cannot determine for themselves whether they are in violation of the regulations and do not have the resources to seek legal advice. The very mention of the word audit instills panic in everyone, even the most educated among us.

A few well-selected, highly publicized tax court cases each year keep the people in fear and blindly complying with a complicated tax system they can't hope to understand.

The symptoms of the operation of this kind of tax collection system are clear. There are no public forums where open discussion and debate of the federal tax system occurs, lest the participants be audited. Thenational media, including talk radio, avoids any discussion of the federal tax system like the plague.

Only when Congress from time to time calls the IRS to task in a kind of dog-and-pony show is testimony given from IRS employees/whistle-blowers. This testimony is always given from behind secrecy screens. Who are they hiding from?

We need to move beyond the fear and openly discuss, in public forum using common sense, if the operation of federal agencies in a manner like the IRS is consistent with the ideals expressed in our Constitution.

Bruce T. Williams Lockport

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