Thursday, August 25, 2011

What Do You Think of a War Tax?

I'm not sure what I think of Leahy's idea of bringing back the war tax because I don't know much about it. It sounds like a logical fix to our country's broken piggie bank. If a president is going to invade two, possibly more countries, depending on how you define war, then someone ought to point out that it's very expensive to kill people on the other side of the world and we might need to raise some revenue to pay for it instead of basically using a credit card to pay for it and letting the next president break the news to taxpayers that the bill is past due.

It's especially annoying that President Bush authorized our nation to invaded nations of people who had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Al-Qaeda is not a nation. It's a multi-national organization whose mission statement appears to be to hate Westerners. So why not spend less money focusing on capturing the actual people who are plotting to kill us and dump the old military mindset that countries fight countries. We're fighting lunatics, not countries. See: even Wikipedia knows this.

People say, "Cut welfare!" No way. We need social programs. We need affordable education, healthcare and housing if we want our citizens to be strong. I don't want to live in a country with a bunch of uneducated, unhealthy, homeless people. I want to live in a country that lifts up the children of irresponsible parents. Pulling them out of the cycle of poverty and crime and violence and self-destruction and whatever obstacles those kids face so they don't repeat their parent's mistakes.

So I gladly pay my taxes to support other people's children's education, healthcare, food and housing. I want them to have a good chance in this life. I don't want Katie to have to live in world with a bunch of ignorant, sick assholes. Plus, we simply can do better to those in need, the least of these amongst us, to paraphrase that radical cat Jesus.

I don't mean to bring Jesus into the argument in the "Al-Qaeda is also known as the International Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jews"way. I love Jesus but I am no Crusader, although I am 1/16 Jewish on my mother's side. (Go Tribe!). I am referring to Jesus the Peaceful Lamb, not Jesus the Slaughterer of some distorted versions of Christianity. I don't want my blog to fan the fires of the eternal holy war. I haven't found a gadget to make available a political argument extinguisher. Wouldn't that be cool? If I knew anything about computers I'd make a gadget that allows you to offer your readers a button to push that automatically inserts a big heart over the text of a raging political argument.

What were we talking about? Oh yeah. I was rambling about taxes.

This is a fascinating article that explains how Republican President Dwight Eisenhower was in favor of raising taxes to pay for wars and how that reasoning changed for most Republicans over time. Most were open to tax increases to pay down the deficit in the Fifties through the late Seventies until around 1978-1981, when more and more Republicans marched in step and decided tax increases were always bad, deficit be damned.

I like this quote especially: "Although all of evidence of the previous 20 years clearly refuted starve the beast theory, George W. Bush was an enthusiastic supporter, using it to justify liquidation of the budget surpluses he inherited from Clinton on massive tax cuts year after year. Bush called them "a fiscal straightjacket for Congress" that would prevent an increase in spending. Of course nothing of the kind occurred. Spending rose throughout his administration to 20.7% of GDP in 2008."

And this quote too: "Despite [the 'Starve the Beast' theory of not raising taxes] continuing popularity among Republican politicians, at least a few conservative intellectuals are starting to have misgivings about STB. In 2005 free-market economist Arnold Kling admitted he had been wrong. 'Cutting taxes did not help to reduce the size of government,' he conceded."

So what do you think? Should we pay a war tax? I personally would rather end these endless wars, pay off our debt with a slight tax increase on the wealthiest citizens and quit being such an effing bully country.