Sunday, November 29, 2009

GOP opposes surtax to pay for Afghan War

Sam Stein

First Posted: 11-29-09 11:12 AM   |   Updated: 11-29-09 11:53 AM 
Two former advisers to George W. Bush had a spirited debate on Sunday morning over the possibility of a surtax to pay for a troop escalation in Afghanistan.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Dan Senor, a neoconservative war hawk who served as Bush's spokesman in Iraq, called proposals for taxing the rich to pay for the war a backdoor effort to derail any surge in forces. He was opposed by another Bush hand, former communications honcho Matthew Dowd -- a GOP traditionalist -- who said it was unfair to have an increase in troops without a shared social sacrifice.

The whole exchange is worthwhile, but the below portion was particularly illuminating:
SENOR: Let's be honest about what this is about. It's about a campaign against President Obama's troops surge. It's not really about paying for it. It's about arguing against it.
GEORGE WILL: And there's going to be no surtax. We all agree on that. So everyone, relax.
DOWD: I agree with you. There is not going to be a tax. But I think this goes to a fundamental value that I think we lost, which is that we can get things for nothing. That we can go to war and not have to pay for it either by cutting the budget or doing something else.
We have a war; we don't have a draft. All of these sorts of things, that we think, 'Oh, by way, we can go fight the most important war in the history of our country, but we're not going to have a draft, we're not going to pay for it, we're not going to do anything that causes anybody to sacrifice.'
SENOR: If [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [House Appropriations Committee Chairman David] Obey were being intellectually honest about this they would wage a war against the President's surge policy Wednesday morning. As opposed to doing this via some proposed surtax.
DOWD: David Obey's idea I think underlines the problem that we don't ask people -- when we say these things are important -- we don't ask the country to come together for them.
Coming days before President Obama is set to announce an increase in roughly 30,000 to 35,000 troops in Afghanistan, the debate between Senor and Dowd provides a window into the Republican Party's internal divisions.

Rightardia comment: As the cost of the Iraq War approaches $ 1 trillion (see, people like Dan Senor whine about taxes. The blood of the poor and the middle class have paid for most wars while the rich have financed them.
Of course, Bush started two wars and was the first president in US history who did not raise taxes to pay for them. Instead he cut the top two tax brackets for the most affluent American, cut the capital gains tax to 17 per cent and suspended the Estate Tax. The tax cuts and the wars doubled the US national debt.

Keep in mind, too, that recessions invariably follow the end of a wars and the US is already in one of the worst recessions in its history. The simplest way to pay for this war would be to increase the capital gains tax and restore the Estate Tax. Let the people who benefited most from the Bush tax cuts pay for this war. We don't need another regressive surtax on the middle class.

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Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Take this to the bank:

We will lose the war in Afghanistan. Every human being who is dying for this cause is dying in vain. England and Russia learned this lesson a long time ago. You would think....N­ever mind.

Suffice to say, I don't receive half the information Obama receives. I don't read all of (or any of) the Presidential Daily Briefings that are placed on his desk every morning. Maybe he knows something that I don't. I am not doubting that as a distinct possibility. But from where I sit it would seem to me that this president has failed to learn the historical lessons taught to us by the administrations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Baines Johnson - lessons involving bold action in times of economic crisis, and the utter folly of trying to win wars that cannot be won.

I want to believe in this guy but the sad fact of the matter is that I am quickly losing confidence in my president. Where the heck is all this change I could believe in? Are the Republicans still in charge? What gives?

Tom Degan

Rightardia said...

I would agree. The US really hasn't won a war since World War 2 with the possible of the intervention in the Balkans. The Bosnians we defended supported the NAZIs in World War 2.

The Russians are also indicating that Blackwater, now called Xe, is conducting operations in Pakistan to attack Al Qaeda.

The situation in Afghanistan was created by Republicans like Joe Wilson who wanted to attack the godless communists in Afghanistan. The Russians were winning there until we started training an arming the Mujahideen (now called the Taliban).

We will probably lose this war unless we do something really innovative. We should let the Russians help us. They are concerned that Islamic fundamentalism could destabilise some of their central Asian republics,