The problem with the debate about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that no one, except soldiers and their families, have skin in the game. A new war tax could fix that problem. Yes, general tax dollars go finance both wars, but a "specific tax" might single out both topics and change minds about it. James Wright notes in Foreign Affairs:
Part of the problem, as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, among others, have pointed out, is that the soldiers serving in today’s military are not representative of the U.S. population. They are disproportionately from small towns and rural areas, from the South, the Midwest, and the Great Plains states. And they represent a sliver of the population. About one-half of one percent of the U.S. population is in the military today; during World War II, the proportion was over 10 percent. Back then, most families, neighborhoods, and communities in the United States watched their young men go to war. Today, few Americans know anyone on the frontlines.His Plan:
It is long past time for Americans to affirm their common responsibility and share in some way in the sacrifice of war. Congress should consider enacting a surcharge on individual and corporate taxes that would retire the debt accumulated by these wars, pay their current operating costs, and establish a fund that would provide for veterans. This new tax could be deferred until the still fragile U.S. economic recovery gains strength. It would conclude when the wars have ended and the debt and obligations have been met. A surtax would spread this cost over multiple years, and the rate could be applied progressively. Soldiers and their families should be exempted for some number of years for every year served, and families with casualties who had been principal taxpayers or dependents should receive a permanent exemption. A war tax would not mean that all Americans were sharing the full burden of war, but it would be a start.
Democrats always lose the tax debate because it's hard to tell voters that their taxes will go up and have them like it, especially to pay for entitlement programs. It would be very hard for the GOP to oppose a tax that pays for national defense. For once, the Democrats can call Republicans "unpatriotic" if they say nay to this proposal.
Do you think a new war surtax should be added and can encourage patriotism?
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