Hey, Raise Our Taxes!


Apart from running with the most ironic headline you can run about the war on terror (Return of the Living Dead fans, back me up), this editorial at the newly-redesigned New York Post is notable for its pioneering pro-war Bush-bashing.

True, Bush has spoken of sacrifice: "Wars are not won without sacrifice," he said last year, "and this war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve. The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we have ever faced . . . . No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead." Yet the president has never held most Americans to that. Never asked them to step up and support the men and women who are fighting the nation's battles—by providing sufficient tax dollars.

Are tax hikes inevitable?


There ought to be something to cut in a nearly $3 trillion federal budget.

But if tax hikes are necessary, then so be it. Tax hikes it must be.

Plenty of war supporters (not so many that I can find a link right now) have suggested that some of Bush's negative numbers are not related to the Iraq War merely going poorly and we should get out; some of those "disapprove" numbers are conservatives who don't think Bush is fighting hard enough. But there might be a macro effect from what the Post is groaning about—an intellectual disconnect between voters and the war, who feel no connection to the U.S.'s efforts and are not asked to sacrifice anything to win it. This worked fine when voters thought the Iraq war would be another coupla-weeks-of-bombing-and-we-win affair. But when the grinding war is spun as a historic struggle that we must win or get absorbed into the new, improved Caliphate, if voters aren't actually asked to sacrifice anything, they simply get annoyed.

NEXT: Osbourne vs. Downey

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Pioneering? Christ, the tax-the-rich-to-pay-for-the-war line’s been around long enough to even have a posterboy in Ben Stein. I can appreciate that maybe this is the first time you’ve come across it, but the internet’s good for more than just porn and funny youtube clips.

  2. The Chinese aren’t going to lend us money forever as we become the world’s belligerent, jobless brother-in-law who lives in the garage.

    So my theory is give the Republicans a few more years of power and they’ll start to groove and all the cool things they could do if they started raising taxes. An aversion to taxes will be one of the last recognizably conservative things to go, but it will go. Then they’ll start to work on whittling away the Second Amendment.

  3. So, let me understand, you think people would be *less* annoyed if they had to pay more in taxes for a war they already say has been a waste?

  4. Gotta agree w Kev-B. sure I bet theres a minority of folks critiquing Bush from a ‘fight the war better’ POV, but raising war taxes at this point would, imho, hurt Bush as bad as anything, save a draft, could.

  5. the world’s belligerent, jobless brother-in-law who lives in the garage

    Somehow the jobless brother-in-law is pulling in a $13 trillion dollar GDP so he must get off his ass once in a while.

    The war in Iraq is not the problem and neither is insufficient funding. There is plenty of money in the $2.8 trillion dollar budget to fuck with countries that do not pose a threat to us. Electing legislators who deliberately paint themselves in a corner using non-discretionary spending as their paint is the problem.

  6. Read My Lips! No New Texans!

    (we can’t afford them)

  7. Sacrifice? Why of course we are sacrificing…we’re sacrificing the Bill of Rights, the Constitution, and a few good men.

  8. I’ll grant one point to the people making this argument: Bush is beating our volunteer military like a rented mule.

  9. You know, if the government wanted some ideas to how to enlist the American people in the war on terror, they could have oh, say, read through a copy of David Brin’s “Transparent Society”… and then opened up the “terror futures” market to the general public.

    Unfortunately, using the strengths of democracy and the open society against the weaknesses of closed, authoritarian societies hasn’t seemed to have occured to the dim bulbs running this show…

  10. Aren’t we still paying those pernicious income taxes Wilson needed to pay for World War I?

  11. I support a mandatory war tax every time a AUF or declaration is passed by congress. Of course you need to pay the extra expense of war, but I see it as another checks and balance of citizens vs government.

    If the citizens do not want to pay for the war with the added tax dollars it’s not a war worth fighting. Congress will be less likely to pass the AUF or declaration.

  12. TrickyVic – I like that plan. of course, the budgeting stuff is so opaque that only the most insane “bridge to nowhere” pork ever surfaces. the rest is probalby equally as useless, but much harder to spot.

  13. Art

    I hate to break it to you, but you’re not only paying the taxes, you’re still paying for WWI in both veteran’s benefits [mostly to ‘survivors’ nowadays] & interest compounded on the original borrowings.

    BTW: I thought the US Income Tax arose at some other time. I know our [Canadian] income tax originated as a ‘temporary’ measure in 1917, but I thought the US date of origin was different. Info, please, from someone who has the actual particulars.

  14. Aresen

    I believe the US federal income tax that we have today was first imposed in 1913 after the 16th amendment was ratified. Before that though there were temporary income taxes during the civil war and again in the late 19th century. The latter ended when the supreme court ruled that income taxes had to be levied in proportion to each state’s population. This proportion requirement was eliminated by the 16th amendment.

    It was pretty low though, and only a few people made enough to be directly affected by it, until it was raised and expanded for the war the US had just entered. After the war it was lowered but not all the way back down to the initial low rates.

  15. Aresen,

    BG is correct, the 16th amendment was ratified in 1913. It goes something like this:

    “The Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

    With this simple sentence our government has stolen more money than all the other thieves in history combined. The pen is, indeed, mightier that the sword.

  16. It’s reading reasoning in posts such as these that I suspect Weigel is a Kos Diarist masquerading as a Libertarian. People upset with the progress of the war are supposed to be mollified by having to pay more taxes for it? Hey you know what might make them happiest? Forcing them to go fight it as well! :rolls eyes:

  17. I should qualify I say the above as someone who, if polled, would also say the Bush Administration isn’t doing enough in Iraq. I”m sure they’ll have to scrounge a bit in that multi-trillion dollar budget to find money to spend on increased troop presence and competent management, but it can be done.

  18. What we need is a monthly war bill, just like the electricity, gas and cable bills. With the federal govt handling the processing, I reckon at least thirteen cents of every dollar collected can be expected to make it to the DoD.

    I wonder if there would be any “crowding out” effect on other expenditures.

  19. Send…more…soldiers.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.