About That War Tax

2020 Goat Rodeo contender Beto O’Rourke dropped a policy proposal today to care for veterans, and it includes something called a “war tax.” And as you can guess from the name, it proposes some sort of market-based means to pay for (future) wars.

It isn’t a bad idea, per se, a war tax that makes people pay for a war upfront (through a tax hike) might make them not want to go to war, which might make Possum Hollar vote for peaceniks! It’s possible! (Tho I will add, cynically, that Congress never declares war anymore, and I believe that under the legislation from 9/11, the prznint gets to declare wars as long as he says it’s part of the War on Terror.)

Under Beto’s plan, every new VHCTF would be paired with enactment of new war tax. This new tax would serve as a reminder of the incredible sacrifice made by those who serve and their families.

This modest tax would be implemented on a progressive basis, with taxpayers who make over $200,000 per year (adjusted gross income) paying $1,000 in a new tax for each war.

The tax would be levied on households without current members of the Armed Forces or veterans of the Armed Forces.

But if you think that the Dick Cheneys of the world—who are going to profiteer from wars—will be stopped by some $1K Amero Tax, I invite you to examine his Haliburton portfolio from before the Iraq War and after it. That $1K war tax is a rounding error and the cost of doing bidness to a man like Cheney. And he’s just one example.

Anyway, Beto’s plan is a starting point.


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5 Responses to About That War Tax

  1. John Cole at Balloon Juice fairly demolishes Beto over this stupid concept. I cannot paraphrase it well enough to do him justice, so just go read it for yourself:


    I will agree with him, it is, by far the single most stupid thing any Dem candidate has offered yet, and that includes Joe “Eastland was ok, he didn’t even call me ‘boy'” Biden’s tip-n-ronnie comity BS.

    It’s like Beto re-read fucking “Starship Troopers” again recently or something.

    Remember: one of the warning signs of impending fascism is exaggerated reverence for the Military…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. tengrain says:

    BDR –

    I don’t know if Beto’s plan is THE STUPIDEST thing (and as JC points out, he’s not read Tulsi’s stuff and nor have I), but it is plenty dumb. I don’t think you can get near a market-based solution for a moral problem, and wars are the ultimate moral hazard.

    As to JC’s proposal to bring back the draft, I would prefer to stop wars. Besides, as Chimpy McStagger and Cadet Bonespurs demonstrated, the children of rich/powerful men rarely get drafted, even more rarely serve.




  3. Not that he ever had me but the boy Beto lost me with this one.


  4. mamadillo says:

    I could easily get behind a “war tax” that would put a more human face to what “war” means: it would require any president electing to declare war would provide at least one child of his/her own who is age 12 or older to be inducted into the military within 30 days of the declaration of war or the first military action of offense or defense, whichever comes first. Should the president have no children, s/he shall instead enlist in the military regardless of his/her own age and physical dis/abilities within 30 days of the declaration of war or the first military action of offense or defense, whichever comes first. Should the president refuse to provide his/her child for military service or to enlist him/herself within the period of time for enlistment, s/he will be taken into custody within 24 hours as a designated prisoner of war and shall be confined and treated as all other prisoners of war are treated at the time of the detention.


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