Skip to content

Raising Taxes To Pay For America’s Wars

August 16, 2011

I posted here somewhat tongue in cheek on Monday that even medieval popes raised taxes for the crusades.  Carnage, as I noted, is costly.

The fact that America can not find the way forward to pay for the military missions we start and want to pursue is fiscal madness.  Conservatives seem content to dodge that fact, and liberals seem unwilling to fight to correct the glaring problem.

There are however voices that are being raised to suggest that America has to reckon with the fact we are needing a tax increase to pay for our wars.

From a must read…

Part of the problem, as former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen, among others, have pointed out, is that the soldiers serving in today’s military are not representative of the U.S. population. They are disproportionately from small towns and rural areas, from the South, the Midwest, and the Great Plains states. And they represent a sliver of the population. About one-half of one percent of the U.S. population is in the military today; during World War II, the proportion was over 10 percent. Back then, most families, neighborhoods, and communities in the United States watched their young men go to war. Today, few Americans know anyone on the frontlines.

For the generation who established the United States, the assumption was that a democracy’s wars would be fought and paid for by its citizens. This dual obligation was supposed to serve as a restraint on entering wars and a continuing reminder of their costs. George Washington insisted that every citizen owed a “proportion of his property” and his personal services to the nation’s military in wartime. Today’s wars, by contrast, are fought by other citizens’ sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and they will be paid for by the children and grandchildren of today’s generation. This is out of line with tradition. Beginning with the War of 1812 and up through the Vietnam War, Congress levied special taxes to pay for its wars.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: