Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Lieberman Proposes "War Tax"

Sen. Joe Lieberman, (I-CT), proposed that Congress pass a special "war tax" to fund what he calls the "war on terrorism" and what the rest of us call the Iraq War. He pointed out in his remarks before the Senate Armed Services Committee that people have pointed out that the only Americans being asked to sacrifice are members of the military and civilians serving in Iraq, this blog among them.

This is actually an intellectually honest approach to funding the war, much more so than Bush's budget. It would also probably drive home to most Americans what this war is costing us in terms of money as well as American lives. Lieberman did not give any specifics on his tax idea and, of course, it won't get anywhere. Republicans prefer a borrow and spend approach to this war, as well as almost every other operation of the Federal government, and Democrats opposed to the war will find it very difficult to support any proposal of Lieberman's.

Politically, though, putting this idea in a bill form and discussing it would put pressure on Republicans to justify the cost of this war. As Lieberman pointed out in his remarks before the Armed Services Committee, funding this war will push out other domestic spending that the Democrats consider essential. His "war tax" would be an addition to Federal revenues and would theoretically free up more money for domestic spending.

Update: A better idea might to try and pass a law requiring that every time Congress authorizes military action it has to impose a special tax to pay for that military action. It might have the effect of making sure that our elected representatives think before they act and it would force all of us to recognize what military actions cost in terms of money since, with the advent of a volunteer military, most of us don't stop and think what they cost in terms of causalities.

1 comment:

WestEnder said...

Taxing ourselves instead of our children? It's so crazy it makes sense.

But as Eisenhower noted, the only real way to stifle military pugilism is to make it unprofitable. The military-industrial complex wins either way, whether there's a war tax or not.

Click here to see the graph of the AMEX defense sector performance (choose the 60-month graph).