More Blood! More Treasure!

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Vinegar Joe Lieberman isn't a neo-conservative. Think about it: Would a neo-con come up with this?

"I think we have to start thinking about a war on terrorism tax," the independent Connecticut lawmaker said. "I mean people keep saying we're not asking a sacrifice of anybody but our military in this war and some civilians who are working on it."

"When you put together the (Pentagon) budget and the Homeland Security budgets, we need to ask people to help us in a way that they know when they pay more it will go for their security," he said during a Senate panel hearing on the defense budget request.

What's funny is that the "raise taxes so people feel the effect of war" is an idea you most often hear from war opponents; mainstream Democrats who want out of Iraq bring it up as a Trojan Horse for the pullout idea. If you give voters the option of fighting a war they won't pay for or fighting no war, they'll probably haul out their yellow ribbons; if you say you'll give them a war and they'll have to cut back on the Christmas presents this year, watch a million Cindy Sheehans bloom. It's an iteration of the "raise gas taxes so everyone starts riding bikes" idea. (I guess it's also possible that some Democrats are suggesting it in earnest.)

NEXT: Barack Obama, Outsourcer of Good-Paying Meth Lab Cook Jobs to Mexico!

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  1. He could be a really stupid neo-conservative. That wouldn’t go against any prior evidence, I think.

  2. I’m not planning to check that box.

  3. Of course, if Joe was totally honest and forthright he’d call this a “secure oil tax” since that’s what the War on Terrorism is all about anyway. Let the people more directly shoulder the costs of what it takes to keep our economy humming along, and we’ll quickly find out if people think it’s worth it or not.

  4. Fortunately, the War on Terror Tax has thus far been offset by the Incompetent Commander-In-Chief credit.

  5. Great headline Dave.

  6. “If you give voters the option of fighting a war they won’t pay for or fighting no war, they’ll probably haul out their yellow ribbons; if you say you’ll give them a war and they’ll have to cut back on the Christmas presents this year, watch a million Cindy Sheehans bloom.”

    Do you have a study to back this up or is this just anal chatter on your part?

  7. Anal chatter? The war is already unpopular. Requiring people to pony up actual cash wouldn’t make it more popular. Of course, I don’t have a study to back this up.

  8. Note that no one is suggesting cutting domestic spending to cover the war. Don’t they think people will “feel the pain” from such cuts?

    No?

    Then why do we have the damn things?

  9. Note also the implicit assumption that raising tax rates will increase tax collections.

    Bush has dramatically increased the amount of treasure collected.

    What kind of libertarian weirdo would it take to argue “Cut Tax Rates to Support War Spending!”

  10. The Connecticut for Joe Lieberman Party transcends the petty rationality of the Democrats and Republicans.

  11. Dang. We just last year got rid of the 1898 Spanish-American War Tax. (http://www.lp.org/article_154.shtml)

  12. Of course, if Joe was totally honest and forthright he’d call this a “secure oil tax” since that’s what the War on Terrorism is all about anyway.

    I guess I have to keep bringing this up until it sinks in. The “War on Terror”, once it was expanded to Iraq, became “The War to Maintain the Supremacy of the Dollar”, and oil is only a minor part of that equation. Saddam dared to propose that he would only accept Euros as payment for oil, and that is why he was punished.

    Now, I await the responses from the ostriches who say that there is no problem with the dollar being backed by nothing more than paper.

  13. Don’t they think people will “feel the pain” from such cuts?

    They know it, but the “people” in question, though, are the deserving poor – farmers, Exxon, McDonalds, John Stossel – who should not have to bear the burden of spending cuts to pay for Boooosh’s war.

  14. One could also add to a list of causes for our current misguided foreign policy: the desire to enrich corporate benefactors, strengthen the Executive branch at home, and maintain global hegemony.

  15. The original sin was the Gulf War (Iraq War I). Rather than solving anything, it ensured that there would be a sequel (as some far-sighted critics said at the time).

    We leave Africa alone. Why not the Middle East? Two reasons: oil and Israel. Speaking of Israel, I wonder how Joe would feel about trimming the foreign aid budget to help pay for the war. Let’s spread the joy of sacrifice around.

  16. Saddam dared to propose that he would only accept Euros as payment for oil, and that is why he was punished.

    I’ve heard this for years, so I’d love to hear a counter argument to this.

  17. “””Of course, if Joe was totally honest and forthright he’d call this a “secure oil tax” since that’s what the War on Terrorism is all about anyway.””””

    Then where’s the oil?

    I don’t think our troops are getting shot at driving tanker trucks of oil for delivery to America. The war might be worth it if that was the case.

  18. “””The original sin was the Gulf War (Iraq War I). Rather than solving anything, it ensured that there would be a sequel (as some far-sighted critics said at the time).””””

    It did solve the problem of Iraqi occupation of Kuwai, which was it’s purpose. Bush Sr. knew the liberation of Kuwait would be a do-able goal. Despite anyone’s opinion of the first Gulf War, Bush Sr. didn’t bite off more than he could chew. The same can not be said about Bush Jr.

    Someone once said, A man’s got to know his limits.

  19. Well, I’ll tackle a bit of it:

    Conclusions

    Several general propositions emerge as to the likely introduction of a petroeuro and the U.S. motivation for the Iraq War:

    1. For a number of technical reasons OPEC is unlikely to shift markets to euro-priced oil. There would be costs and inefficiencies involved, with no real significant benefits gained. The same applies to the buyers of oil.

    2. There is good reason to believe that the euro’s current appreciation vis-?-vis the dollar will not be sustained-the currency will have a hard time maintaining its current parity with the dollar. The euro’s current strong value is taking a toll on euroland economic performance.

    3. Even if the euro were to maintain its parity with the dollar, this would not cause the dollar to cease to be the international reserve currency. A two international reserve currency system is more unstable[24] than one dominated by a single currency. Markets will move toward stability-and a currency with a historical track record.

    4. The fate of the dollar and hence its use as an international reserve currency is largely in the hands of the United States-budget and trade deficits and low savings pose a greater threat to the use of the dollar as a reserve currency than any actions the EU or OPEC could undertake with regard to oil pricing.

    5. Even though the United States may derive some economic benefit from having its currency serve as the dominant international reserve currency, the gains are not nearly as great as is often assumed-around 0.5% of GDP at best, much of which is offset by lost manufacturing exports and jobs associated with the strong dollar.

    It follows that the notion the United States undertook the Iraq war over its concern with the consequences of Saddam Hussein denominating Iraq’s oil sales in euros (and the direction that might move other producing countries) is little more than another web-based conspiracy theory.

    Item #1 makes little sense. It requires a change in some banking agreements, and how you communicate prices. When it becomes profitable to make the switch, the switch will be made.

    Item #2 is also weak; the Euro – dollar exchange rate will ultimately be decided by a combination of demand for the currencies, and the rate at which the central banks counterfeit money. True, the European central banks print money to pay for their welfare state. The U.S. Central Bank, prints money for paying for both our welfare and our warfare state. More warfare, more govt spending translates into more inflation in the long run.

    Item #3 is I think a classic example of begging the question: when two currencies compete side to side, in a free market, people naturally tend to gravitate to one and discard the other. After all, if I sell something for money, I want to be paid in a money that will be in demand tomorrow when I go to buy something I want to consume.

    However, it is wishful thinking that the U.S. dollar’s track record will count for much. After all, the U.S. dollar supplanted the British pound in something like 3 decades, mainly because of the monetary policies of Winston Churchill in the years immediately following WW I.

    4) Ah, now an actual meaty argument! Yes, the Federal Reserve, and its enforcers in the Treasury Dept have it within their power to destroy the price of the dollar. They also have it within their power to remove any incentive for the OPEC members to dump the dollar. True.

    But, and this is very important, the value of a currency is ultimately based on its usefullness as a good for consumption. One can always sell a dollar for something, because there is always a demand for dollars to buy oil. There is no other good which is in widespread demand that you cannot get for Euros directly from the producer. The demand for dollars by those wanting to purchase petroleum is, in my mind, the foundation of the skyscraper called the demand for the dollar. Smash the foundation, and the building will sway, stand for a short moment, then begin to implode.

    #5 is meaningless. Let us assume that they are correct, and that only 0.5 % of GDP is directly threatened by the abandonment of the dollar as the reserve currency of choice for foreign central banks.

    So what? Let’s go through this again: The federal reserve gives the political classes powerful control over the U.S. economy. By printing money and directing it toward their friends who gain first use benefit from this new money, the political classes gain control of immense amounts of wealth.

    The United States sent an invasion force of 4 – 5 men into Iran, overthrew the Iranina government and installed a puppet regime, all as a favor to the English foreign office in 1953! If they’re willing to kill people and start wars when as a favor to their friends, it means that the bar to conflict is set kind of low.

    Go into an Argentina style meltdown, and these political classes stand to lose lots of money and power. 0.5% of GDP is immaterial to them. Their own bank accounts, their access to champagne and apartments for their mistresses are being threatened. Of course they’re quite willing to send other people to die to prevent that, hell, with the right contacts they can get even more rich off of the fighting!

    This essay starts off with a pretty powerful analysis, which it then dismisses with what seems to me to be nothing more than wishful thinking…

  20. TrickyVic, supporters of Iraq War II correctly point out that Iraq War I never really ended. The U.S. was still in the Middle East, regularly bombing Iraq, enforcing sanctions, and working to overthrow the government. Not a satisfactory conclusion to a war by any stretch of the imagination.

    Bush Sr. got us into this mess. Bush Jr. just dug the hole a little deeper.

  21. “Not a satisfactory conclusion to a war by any stretch of the imagination.”

    Actually, that sounds quite nice. I’ll give you $20 if we can have that.

  22. Lamar

    Thanks for your 5:07 PM post.

    Best belly-laugh I’ve had today.

  23. Would a neo-con come up with this?

    Yeah, In a heartbeat.

    Note this quote from Bill Kristol, head of “The Weekly Standard’ and for years an advocate of regime change in Iraq, which he first advocated in a report written for the Israeli government, and the remaking of the mid-East: “If you read the last few issues of The Weekly Standard, it has as much or more in common with the liberal hawks than with traditional conservatives… If we have to make common cause with the more hawkish liberals and fight the conservatives, that is fine with me, too.”

    The owner of the neocon nexus; Fox and “The Weekly Standard”, Rupert Murdoch, has held two fundraisers for war hawk Hillary Clinton. (She has come off of her pro-war position only in recent weeks so that she may curry favor with the rank and file of her party.)

    This gives yet more evidence that the neocons aren’t conservative in any manner. Their main goal is to continue to use the use US military for what they consider to be beneficial for the Israeli state. This includes an upcoming attack on Iran, unless perhaps the American people apply extraordinary pressure to forestall it.

  24. Joe Lieberman has zero redeeming political values. He’s a war hawk and a big government liberal.

  25. “This includes an upcoming attack on Iran, unless perhaps the American people apply extraordinary pressure to forestall it.”

    What if there is an Iranian attack on the US first, what then, should the US use “restraint” and not shoot back?

  26. For all of Lieberman being at odds with his party on the war, he is still rather left liberal in most things. The idea that “sacrifice” in the form of increased taxes on the part of the whole population as some kind of show of solidarity with those fighting a war or enduring some other kind of hardship is a fairly standard New Deal liberal trope. Those people tend to look on the deprivations of the WWII years with a certain fond nostalgia

  27. Imagine if the taxpayers got this question on their tax form: “Where do you want your money spent?” The top things to get defunded? (in order)

    Iraq
    Welfare
    Medicare
    Foreign Aid

    Both sides may not wish that people get to pick and choose what government they want.

  28. I was wondering how long it would be before Rick posted that Bill Kristol quote.

    But I think he makes a mistake when he implies that the neoconservatives put Israel’s interests before America’s. It would be more accurate to say that they don’t draw a distinction between the two.

    wayne,

    “What if there is an Iranian attack on the US first, what then, should the US use “restraint” and not shoot back?” If Iran launched attack on our soil, we should launch an attack on theirs. If they screw with our interests in Iraq, we should screw with their interests in Iraq. Better still would be eliminating the immediate (potential) cause of hostilities – the Iraq War.

  29. Im opposed to the war, and I think this makes alot of sense. Peg the cost of gasoline at 5$ a gallon.

    Global warming, national security (both funding ours and defunding our enemies), traffic, and peak oil fears, all addressed with one tax.

  30. Where exactly does he think the budget for everything he does including his own salary comes from to begin with?

    How about this for a fucking idea Senator, try ending your free wheeling spending on just about everything BUT what the Constitution charges you to do as a Congress? Stop pilfering my wallet to buy more votes for yourself. I am betting that would save A LOT OF MONEY!!

    Does anyone really wonder why people try to get out of paying taxes? What part of reading daily about the billions wasted here and billions pissed away there makes anyone want to give you their money? Certainly the 5 grand I “owe,” the government won’t be missed if they can afford to piss billions away and not even blink. That 5 grand has to be worth more to me then the government.

    Well at least thats my perspective coming from the position of being the one that actually got up and went to work for it every day to begin with.

  31. Something is terribly wrong when you have to work close to/more days a year just to pay your taxes than a politician will show up to work all year.

    How can they literally be spending money so fast they don’t have to work as many days as the rest of us who are making it for them to spend? If they worked 97 days and spent 2.7+ trillion they spent $27,835,051,546.00 per work day. Thats just the Feds!

  32. Dang. We just last year got rid of the 1898 Spanish-American War Tax.

    Well, you know, we had to keep it as long as those damn Spaniards were a threat. Shifty bastards.

  33. joe:

    But I think he makes a mistake when he implies that the neoconservatives put Israel’s interests before America’s. It would be more accurate to say that they don’t draw a distinction between the two.

    That’s an interesting and fair consideration. But I think that, at least, for the most prominent of the neos, the evidence indicates that it’s the Israli Licudnik foreign policy agenda that is their foremost priority.

    Note that the neos first started advocating attacking Iraq in A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm, a plan for Israel for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s new government written by a group headed by Richard Perle in 1996 which included Kristol, Robert Kagan, and Wolfowitz. Baghdad was depicted as the lynch pin in the undermining of both Iran and Syria for the good of the Israeli State. After A Clean Break the neocons started a campaign to put forth those goals laid for the Israeli government as something America must do in its own interest. Fabrication and exaggeration of Saddam’s WMD capacity were part of this campaign.

    Then in 1998, a group of neos including Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Kristol and four others who wound up on the Bush team wrote a letter to Clinton urging him to take out Saddam.

    And note also that Richard Perle, the man at the nexus of so many of the neocon “pro democracy” organizations, while he worked for Sen. “Scoop” Jackson in 1970, was caught on a NSA wiretap giving classified information to the Israeli Embassy.

    http://www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

    http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/82may/hershwh2.htm

    Also, incredibly, right after 9/11, Wolfowitz argued that Afghanistan be put on the back burner and Iraq be attacked instead!

    In one of the current Israeli spy cases, Lawrence A. Franklin who worked for Douglas Feith (second in command to Wolfowitz) at the OSP in the Pentagon is charged with five counts of handing over classified information to officials of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) a pro-Israel lobbying group, that passed it on to Israeli diplomatic personnel, is charged along with two other accused spies, Steve Rosen, who for 20 years was the chief lobbyist over at AIPAC, and Keith Weissman, AIPAC’s top foreign policy analyst.

    In the book The Mossad by Dennis Eisenberg, and Israeli journalists and former members of the IDF, Uri Dan and Eli Landau, the authors provide evidence of the Israeli government tactic of getting people with assumed allegiance to their native nation but with real loyalty to the Israeli government in positions of power in various nations. We may be seening this dynamic played out in the case of Perle and other neocons.

  34. “If Iran launched attack on our soil, we should launch an attack on theirs. If they screw with our interests in Iraq, we should screw with their interests in Iraq. Better still would be eliminating the immediate (potential) cause of hostilities – the Iraq War.”

    Joe, you are a lot more fun when I disagree with you.

    Iran is crusin’ for a bruisin’ in Iraq right now. It looks to me like they want a military confrontation, hence it probably can’t be avoided. The Iranian Republican guard said in the last day or so that he plans to kidnap some Americans as retaliation for the bad consequences that Iranian agents in Iraq have endured. It won’t take very much of that kind of action to provoke a response.

  35. “In the book The Mossad by Dennis Eisenberg, and Israeli journalists and former members of the IDF, Uri Dan and Eli Landau, the authors provide evidence of the Israeli government tactic of getting people with assumed allegiance to their native nation but with real loyalty to the Israeli government in positions of power in various nations. We may be seening this dynamic played out in the case of Perle and other neocons.”

    Rick, that strikes me as a paranoid and extremely ungenerous reading of the situation. I’ve seen not a whit of evidence to support the contention that the prominent neo-conservatives you mention believe that their policies are contrary to the interests of the United States.

    “Iran is crusin’ for a bruisin’ in Iraq right now.” Like we’re not. As you say, if this goes on much longer, another war is likely.

  36. I believe that people can have really dumb ideas without being disloyal.

  37. joe,

    I can imagine the neos justifying their actions (despite the stretch) with the pretext that all that is good for the Likud agenda is good for the US. But I can’t imagine them actually believing it.

    Don’t you think that Perle’s spying on us for Israeli government is evidence? What about the spys for Israel coming out of Wolfowitz’ office? And what about his pounding the table to go after Iraq instead of Afghanistan right after 9/11? What about Kristol’s willness to make everything subordinate to a hawkish mideast agenda that dovetails with the report that he co-authored with other neos for the Israeli government?

  38. “Like we’re not.”

    No, we are not.

    We are at war in Iraq, not Iran. If Iranians insert themselves into the conflict, and specifically if their meddling results in the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq then their actions will probably lead to military actions against them.

  39. wayne:

    We are at war in Iraq, not Iran.

    But our government shouldn’t be. Also, if another nation’s military was occupying Canada or Mexico. It wouldn’t be to surprising to see the US government “insert themselves into the conflict”.

  40. To avoid confusion, when I said:

    “But our government shouldn’t be.” I was just making an extra point that it’s our government that has attacked Iraq, not us. If the government didn’t have the power of the force of tazation, this tragic mess wouldn’t have happened.

  41. “If the government didn’t have the power of the force of tazation, this tragic mess wouldn’t have happened.”

    And if my aunt had balls, she would be my uncle.

  42. wayne,

    That was very good. To analyze both posts together, I said; if no force of taxation, then no tragic mess: (IF notFT then notTM). And you said; if no balls, then Uncle: (If notB then U)

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