Friday, November 27, 2009
Following up on Tuesday's post, Democrats Propose Afghanistan War Tax -- "Pay As You Fight":
- Sarah Palin, Facebook:
Really? A tax on national defense? I hear liberal Congressional proposals and I, like most Americans, wonder if they’re serious. We’re going to put a price tag on security?
With Congress and President Obama spending money on everything at breakneck speed, it’s interesting that they are only now getting nervous about spending – but only when it comes to providing the necessary funds to complete our mission in Afghanistan . They don’t need a new “war tax” to fund a strategy for victory in the war zone. They simply need to prioritize our money appropriately.
I find it telling that the Pelosi-Reid Congress is only cost-conscious when it comes to our national defense. Scary. Nonsensical. Unacceptable.
- Forbes: The Cost Of War: Are Americans Willing to Pay It?, by Bruce Bartlett:
In recent years, Republicans have been characterized by two principal positions: They like starting wars and don't like paying for them. George W. Bush initiated two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but adamantly refused to pay for either of them by cutting non-military spending or raising taxes. Indeed, at his behest, Congress actually cut taxes and established a massive new entitlement program, Medicare Part D.
Bush's actions were unprecedented. During every previous major war in American history, presidents demanded sacrifices from rich and poor alike. ...
The White House has given no indication of how it plans to pay for expanding the war in Afghanistan. More than likely, it will follow the Bush precedent and just put it all on the national credit card. But at least some members of Congress believe that the time has come to start paying for war. On Nov. 19, Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., introduced H.R. 4130, the "Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010." It would establish a 1% surtax on everyone's federal income tax liability plus an additional percentage on those with a liability over $22,600 (for couples filing jointly), such that revenue from the surtax would pay for the additional cost of fighting the war in Afghanistan.
It's doubtful that this legislation will be enacted. But that's not Obey's purpose. He will probably offer it as an amendment at some point just to have a vote. Republicans in particular will be forced to choose between continuing to fight a war that they started and still strongly support, or raising taxes, which every Republican in Congress would rather drink arsenic than do. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see those who rant daily about Obama's deficits explain why they oppose fiscal responsibility when it comes to supporting our troops. ...
If it takes the threat of a tax increase to get people to think seriously about whether it's worth continuing to fight wars far from home--wars that have only the most tenuous connection to the national interest--then it's a good idea. History shows that wars financed heavily by higher taxes, such as the Korean War and the first Gulf War, end quickly, while those financed largely by deficits, such as the Vietnam War and current Middle East conflicts, tend to drag on indefinitely.
If Americans aren't willing to follow John F. Kennedy and "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship" to fight a war, then we shouldn't be fighting it.
- tax.com, Finally, Some War Tax Talk, by Joseph J. Thorndike:
Will wonders never cease. After ignoring moral and economic imperaives for the better part of a decade, policymakers are finally talking about a war tax. New legislation proposed by Rep. David Obey, D-Wisc., would impose a modest, graduated surtax to help fund the war in Afghanistan. Obey offered an obvious -- and obviously compelling -- argument for the proposal: “Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for.” ...
No, I'm not kidding myself: This tax has the proverbial snowball's chance in hell. But it's a fine thing to see at least a few well-placed few politicians step up to the plate. War taxes are one of the great moral issues in taxation. Historically, they have been a near constant of American politics (see my book for more on that argument). Only the post-9/11 wars have broken categorically with the American tradition of wartime sacrifice. It's time to rediscover a more noble past.
- The Daily Beast, Why We Need a War Tax
- The Hill, Will Dick heney Support a War Tax?
- Reuters, The Afghanistan War Surtax Gambit
- Web CPA, Do We Need an Afghanistan War Tax?