With President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan likely to include a substantial increase in troop levels, Rep. David Obey (D-WI), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, is leading an effort to impose a tax to pay for the war. Obey's "Share the Sacrifice Act" would impose a 1 percent tax on income between $30,000 and $150,000, with wealthier Americans paying higher rates. Is a special tax on the rich the best way to pay for the war? (Watch our Sunday Talk Show Briefing about the difficulties in an Afghan troop escalation)
Somebody has to pay for the war: Obama's plan to fix the situation in Afghanistan is well worth paying for, says Matthew Yglesias in the Daily Beast. Obey's legislation would serve as a useful reminder to that "defense expenditures cost real money."
"Why we need a war tax"
It's a dishonest gesture: There's nothing inherently wrong with the idea of a war tax, but in this case the hypocrisy is palpable, says Charles Krauthammer, as quoted in the National Review. Democrats are running up a deficit in the trillions, yet suddenly discover "fiscal discipline over national security -- over the safety of our nation." This "completely disingenuous" ploy is more about opposing to the war than paying for it.
Republicans ought to support a war tax: David Obey's bill "probably should have been passed eight years ago," says The Economist. But the Bush administration figured "hiding the costs" of the war would increase public support. David Obey's proposal is a wake-up call for anti-deficit Republicans -- "it is impossible to imagine under what logic they could oppose it."
"David Obey's war tax"
Both sides emphasize war costs when it's conveniently scary: "There's a lot of dishonesty among members of both parties," says Derek Thompson in the Atlantic. They're "war deficit hawks" when talking about fiscal responsibility, and "war hawks" when soliciting confidence in the war. It's confusing -- nonetheless, a war tax is worth supporting because "war money is real money, too."
"Taxing Americans for a war in Afghanistan"