I am thankful to live in this free country where we enjoy political, religious, as well as economic freedom. I came here as a boy with my parents and sister in 1949 from the Netherlands. We have a great heritage of freedom here as in no place on Earth. The opportunities are limitless; however, since 1949, a shadow has fallen over our economic futures. I'm talking about the terrible growth of government in this country and the resulting tax burden we all now carry. Traditional families with one wage earner are the exception. The growth of the welfare state is the main reason for this burden.

When we came here in 1949 and until recently, immigrants to this land were required to fill out all kinds of paperwork and forms, wait years sometimes and sign forms committing to not participate in the welfare programs here. Immigrants had to have sponsors to guarantee they would work and if not support them so that they would not become a burden on society. This was and is the law of the land.Today we see legal as well as illegal immigrants on welfare and Social Security. I see them every day on the bus with their punch cards. I see able-bodied young men and young women with the same cards, evidence they are on welfare. I am concerned with the direction of our gov-ern-ment both national as well as local, who are allowing this to occur. I love this country and see our freedom being lost through these programs and others that cost the taxpayers dearly.

Some people do not equate loss of freedom with the huge increases in taxes that we are asked to bear, but I for one do. I worry about my children who are increasingly under financial stress because of the tax burden and the resulting loss of expendable income, which is higher here than in Europe, for example. Let's please wake up before it's too late. Let's not destroy the American Dream of being economically free, which is why most im-mi-grants still come here.

Art J. VanTielen

Murray