Feature

War-tax shot down

Democratic congressional leaders rejected a proposal to use an income-tax surcharge to pay for the Iraq war. Rep. David Obey

Democratic congressional leaders rejected a proposal to use an income-tax surcharge to pay for the Iraq war. Three senior Democrats floated the idea of a graduated surcharge of 2 to 15 percent to “drive the costs home” to Americans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said no, and held a news conference to say that the idea was “not a party proposal.”

Rep. David Obey “blindsided” his party’s leaders with this doozy, said Ed Morrissey in his Captain’s Quarters blog. In the process, he “reminded people that the Democrats have offered little on how to win in Iraq or on terror and have focused mainly on running away.” He also “embarrassed” the party leadership. Doesn’t he know that “Democrats want to hide their tax increases, not broadcast them across the nation”?

The “rapid dismissal” of the idea by Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid showed “just how politically toxic the issue of tax increases remains for Democrats,” said Martin Kady II and John Bresnahan in The Politico. “Democrats in power on Capitol Hill are emboldened these days, confident that the polls are swinging their way on Iraq, children’s health care,” and other domestic priorities. But they “realize the political peril of hitting regular Americans’ paychecks.”

What's so radical about saying how we’re going to pay for this mess? said the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in an editorial. As Obey said, “If this war is important enough to fight, it's worth paying for.” That’s certainly a more “responsible” approach than President Bush has offered. He just wants Congress to rubber-stamp his request for another $190 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, and leave our grandkids “staring dazedly at the titanic bills.”

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