Time for a War Tax to Cover Our Debts

10% surcharge could cover next year's bill: Walter Pincus
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2011 2:01 PM CDT
Walter Pincus: We Need a War Tax
In this 2010 file photo, a U.S soldier returns fire to Taliban positions in Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

With the debt supercommittee looking to slash the deficit, some in Washington are raising an old question, notes Walter Pincus in the Washington Post: What about a tax on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? “These wars ought to be paid for and not put on a credit card so that our kids will have to pay for this in the future,” Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern tells him in an interview. “It’s morally wrong for members [of Congress] to call for support of our soldiers and then not ask the rest of us to pay for it.”

The idea of a war tax isn’t a new one: Iraq and Afghanistan are “the first wars undertaken by US presidents since the War of 1812 that have not been financed in part by a special tax,” writes Pincus. A 10% tax surcharge next year would almost cover the year’s $116 billion in projected war costs, says an economist, who adds that such a surcharge wouldn’t affect those who pay no taxes and “would add just 1.1 percent to rates of those who do pay taxes,” Pincus writes. A “war tax surcharge won’t solve the problem, but it is a step in a historically and morally right direction.” (Read more war tax stories.)

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