NEW WAR SURTAX PLANNED
After campaigning on peace
platform, president decides war is the way—
and guess who’s going to pay for it.
THE POPULIST VIEW about
working class Americans being forced to pay the bills and bleed in the
wars rings true today.With the country fighting
two costly, unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Democrats in the
White House and Congress are debating how many more Americans to send
into battle and just who is going to pay for it all.
In contrasting legislation, legislators are proposing increasing the
cannon fodder in Afghanistan. At the same time, senior House Democrats
want to impose a new tax on Americans to pay for the rising cost of the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The House is expected to take up the issue of the White House plan to
send more American soldiers to Afghanistan. But in a strange twist, the
Democrat Party remains deeply divided over the issue so theWhite House
is using support among Republicans to muscle through its agenda.
Despite Barack Obama’s campaign pledges not to escalate the
two wars, Obama appears to be in the clutches of the
military-industrial-banking complex. But populists in the Democrat
Party are pushing hard to end the
war and bring the troops home. As a result, the White House has had to
turn to the neoconservative wing of both parties to push through
support and funding for sending tens of thousands more Americans into
that no win
In mid November, Democrat Rep. David R. Obey (Wisc.), the current
chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, along with Democrat
Reps. John P. Murtha (Pa.), the chairman of the Defense Appropriations
Subcommittee, and John B. Larson (Conn.), the chairman of the
Democratic Caucus, unveiled the measure which creates a new
“surtax,” or an extra tax on income, that the
president will be able to set annually so that it pays for the previous
year’s war costs.
“The president is being asked to consider an enlarged
counterinsurgency effort in Afghanistan, which proponents tell us will
take at least a decade and would also cost about a trillion dollars.
But unlike the healthcare bill, that would not be paid for.We believe
that’s wrong,” the three congressmen said in a
“The only people who’ve paid any price for our
military involvement in
Iraq and Afghanistan are our military families. We believe that if this
war is to be fought, it’s only fair that everyone share the
It’s laudable that some in Congress recognize the insane
costs in men and treasure associated with these two unnecessary wars.
But the suggestion that tax increases will help anyone but the banks
and the weapons makers would be laughable were it not so deadly
serious. Much as it is false to suggest that a draft would force the
wealthiest of Americans to send their own sons and daughters into
battle, it is misguided to say that increasing
taxes will “share the burden” across the spectrum
of wealth in this country.
By definition, surtaxes disproportionately hurt small businesses and
average Americans, because large multinational corporations and the
elites—the loudest cheerleaders for wars—will
always use their money and power to figure out how to game the system
and avoid paying the bills or bleeding in the wars.
A far better solution to end these needless costs and the bloodshed
would be to exit Iraq and Afghanistan and leave the cleanup to leaders
in Iran and Pakistan, who have a vested and legitimate interest in
in that part of the world.
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# 49 & 50, December 7 & 14,