A Voluntary Tax to Help Pay for the War in Iraq
Posted December 10, 2007 | 10:40 AM (EST)
Read More: Cost Of The War, David Obey, Iraq War, Taxes, Breaking Politics News
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In October, Reps. Obey, Murtha, and McGovern said the government should levy a war surtax, the New York Times reported. They said they didn't expect Democratic leaders to embrace the tax proposal but said the goal was to "call the president's bluff on fiscal responsibility." The Times noted Bush had pledged to veto the children's health insurance bill because it would increase the cost of the program by $35 billion over five years - the cost of three months of operations in Iraq.
"If this war is important enough to fight, then it ought to be important enough to pay for," said Rep. Obey.
Republicans accused Democrats of trying to raise taxes at every opportunity, reported the Times.
Here's a simple modification to Obey's proposal, which would draw an even brighter line under the hypocrisy of the war's supporters: enact such a tax, but make it voluntary.
Not only could the individual taxpayer opt out of the tax, he or she could decide how much to pay.
Income tax forms could be easily modified to include the following:
"Mark this box if you do not want to make a voluntary contribution to help pay for the war in Iraq. So far, the war in Iraq is estimated to have cost at least $450 billion.
If you did not mark the box in the line above, enter the amount of money you wish to voluntarily contribute to the war in Iraq. Your tax liability will be increased or your refund reduced by this amount. If you did not mark the box above, you must enter a positive number of whole dollars."
More than 130 million tax returns are expected in 2008, so if the average return includes a voluntary contribution of $3400, we should be in pretty good shape.
I think it would be interesting to see how much of that $450 billion we could pay off through this mechanism - and how many people mark that box. Don't you agree?
It will also be interesting to ask people in the public eye how much they intend to contribute. How much will each Presidential candidate contribute? Each Member of Congress? Newspaper editors? Pundits? Movie stars? Famous athletes? TV personalities?
Let those who support continuing the war "put their money where their mouth is."