On Tuesday, top congressional Democrats Dave Obey, Jack Murtha and Jim McGovern proposed a war tax in an attempt to quell, or at least slow, the growing leviathan that is our foreign debt in the wake of this war.
The proposition has since been condemned not only by Republican leaders, but by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi herself, a move that stunned her supporters across party lines.
The plan would include a two percent wartime tax bill increase for lower and middle income taxpayers and a 12-15 percent increase for those in the higher tax brackets, and would be waived for anyone currently serving, or with family currently serving, in the military.
The revenue gained from this proposition would amount to the exact current cost of the Iraq war.
What party leaders from both sides of Congress seem to be either oblivious to or entirely ignoring is the vast list of benefits, both for individual political gain and economic welfare, that would spawn from this proposition.
Pelosi stated in response to the motion, “just as I have opposed the war from the outset, I am opposed to a draft and I am opposed to a war surtax.”
What she seems to be refusing to acknowledge is the fact that the war exists, whether or not she wishes to admit it, and simple denial of any essential measure needed to either win the war or bring it to an end will only exacerbate the situation.
From a Democratic point of view, a wartime tax would bring every American into the war effort, as has been done in every major American conflict in history, which would eventually lead to a frustration with extra taxes and a push to end the war.
This, however, is not to say Republicans have nothing to gain from this.
House Minority Leader John Boehner also responded negatively to the proposal.
“Raiding every taxpayer’s wallet for the purposes of playing politics with our national security amounts to one of the most irresponsible proposals I’ve seen in a long, long time,” he said.
He went on to attack the three congressmen in question for not supporting the troops.
What Boehner and the Republican Party seem to ignore is, of course, the fact that if this generation of taxpayers doesn’t take care of this right now, its children will be forced to.
Boehner wants to be a savior of the middle class, a proverbial shield against the evils of taxing Democrats, when all he is accomplishing is financially murdering his protected taxpayers’ kids.
As for the call for Democrats to support the troops, perhaps an increase in taxes will provide enough funding to buy American soldiers some armor and protection that this administration and its overtly stubborn, static fiscal policy have long refused them.
American politicians have developed a dangerous approach to policy: the “stick to your guns” philosophy.
Because of this, lead Democrats, in constant fear of doing something in support of our conflict situation, refuse to aid our nation in one of its most dire times. And Republicans, in the same fear of actually admitting that their tax plan has failed, are doing the exact same thing.
Because of this arrogant battle of reputations, not only do American soldiers remain financially unsupported, but they will be forced to pay the true cost of this war once Washington’s talking heads are dead and buried.
So few have been forced to pay the true cost of this war. In doing so they have received gross opposition from the left and a stubborn lack of funding from the right, criticism from humanitarians for what they perceive to be murder and complete avoidance of association by the upper class elite.
It’s time for the entire nation in one way or another to be held responsible for, and accept the costs of, this tragic conflict.
Phil Elder is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.