Senator Joe Lieberman as well as a NY Times opinion piece today (behind the subscription wall) both have called for a war tax to fund the Iraq conflict and to have all Americans share in the sacrifice.
Now I am definitely of two minds here. The economist in me says that whether or not we like to admit it, we are passing a de facto tax bill whenever we make an expenditure because even if we borrrow to fund the war effort, those bonds will have to be paid someday and it is tax receipts that will do it. So if we don’t pay for the war today then our kids will do it later on – not something we ought to wish on them.
The political activist in me says no way do I want to pay for this war. I was against it and the President lied to get us into it, all the while being cheered on by many who even today cant admit they were wrong. Let them pay for it if they like it so much. Add to this the injustice of proposing a broad based tax to pay for the war just after massive tax cuts benefitting the richest among us. What that means at the end of the day is a massive shift in paying for the war – First make sure the rich get out from under and then stick it to everyone with a regressive tax like the one on phone calls proposed by the NYT opinion piece.
I have a better idea. Since it isnt possible to target a tax on those who support the war, lets at least make sure it isnt as regressive as some of the proposals out there. How about lets repeal Bush’s tax cuts on those who make more than, say, a quarter of million dollars a year? And if Republicans and war supporters are more heavily represented in that group then that would be just little bit of cosmic justice wouldn’t it?