Paying for the War: Thomas Friedman Is Shrill

Glad to see Thomas Friedman’s Charge It to My Kids:

Every so often a quote comes out of the Bush administration that leaves you asking: Am I crazy or are they? I had one of those moments last week when Dana Perino, the White House press secretary, was asked about a proposal by some Congressional Democrats to levy a surtax to pay for the Iraq war, and she responded, “We’ve always known that Democrats seem to revert to type, and they are willing to raise taxes on just about anything.” Yes, those silly Democrats. They’ll raise taxes for anything, even — get this — to pay for a war! And if we did raise taxes to pay for our war to bring a measure of democracy to the Arab world, “does anyone seriously believe that the Democrats are going to end these new taxes that they’re asking the American people to pay at a time when it’s not necessary to pay them?” added Ms. Perino. “I just think it’s completely fiscally irresponsible.”Friends, we are through the looking glass. It is now “fiscally irresponsible” to want to pay for a war with a tax. These democrats just don’t understand: the tooth fairy pays for wars. Of course she does — the tooth fairy leaves the money at the end of every month under Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s pillow. And what a big pillow it is! My God, what will the Democrats come up with next? Taxes to rebuild bridges or schools or high-speed rail or our lagging broadband networks? No, no, the tooth fairy covers all that. She borrows the money from China and leaves it under Paulson’s pillow. Of course, we can pay for the Iraq war without a tax increase. The question is, can we pay for it and be making the investments in infrastructure, science and education needed to propel our country into the 21st century? Visit Singapore, Japan, Korea, China or parts of Europe today and you’ll discover that the infrastructure in our country is not keeping pace with our peers’. We can pay for anything today if we want to stop investing in tomorrow. The president has already slashed the National Institutes of Health research funding the past two years. His 2008 budget wants us to cut money for vocational training, infrastructure and many student aid programs. Does the Bush team really believe that if we had a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax — which could reduce our dependence on Middle East oil dictators, and reduce payroll taxes for low-income workers, pay down the deficit and fund the development of renewable energy — we would be worse off as a country? Excuse me, Ms. Perino, but I wish Republicans would revert to type. I thought they were, well, conservatives — the kind of people who saved for rainy days, who invested in tomorrow for their kids, folks who didn’t believe in free lunches or free wars.

With Tony Blow as press secretary, we could count on a daily dosage of stupidity and mendacity. But Tony was neither as dumb nor as dishonest as Dana Perino. Is the White House taking great joy in the fact that every time she opens her mouth, I think “what nuttiness is going to from out of this blonde bimbo’s mouth now”? A tip of the hat to Thomas Friedman for at least knowing that this stupid war means higher taxes for someone at sometime. Another hat tip to Mark Thoma:

Being forced to pay for a war I don’t support would tick me off, but that’s the point – by making the public fully internalize the cost of the nation’s decision to go to war (including the human cost), it will motivate more pressure to bring this war to an end.

I opposed this war too and likely voted for Bush-Cheney as many times as Mark did – zero. But yes, we will have to pay for their incredibly stupid decision on March 19, 2003. Could we at least be spared the free lunch idiocy of their minions like Dana Perino?