Speaker Nancy Pelosi kept the door open Tuesday to a proposal by several senior House Democrats to impose a graduated surtax on American taxpayers to finance the war in Afghanistan.
While Pelosi wasn't pressed about the details of the new war tax, she pointed to strong reservations among Congressional Democrats about the costs of the war during a conference call Tuesday with several economic writers and bloggers.
"But let me say that there is serious unrest in our Caucus about can we afford this war?" Pelosi said.
Two years ago when House Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wisconsin, floated a similar war tax to pay for the war in Iraq, Pelosi quickly rejected it. But on Tuesday Pelosi said the costs of the war and the impact they will have on other domestic priorities should be part of the discussion over U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.
In addition to Obey, several senior Democrats close to Pelosi have signed on as co-sponsors of the "Share the Sacrifice Act." These include Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel, D-New York, Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank, D-Massachusetts, and the third ranking House Democrat John Larson, D-Connecticut. Obey projects that an escalation of significantly more U.S. troops to Afghanistan will cost about $1 trillion over the next ten years.
First of all, let me say that "David Obey" is either the best or the worst name for a politician ever.
Secondly, I think there should be some sort of exemption for servicemen and -women and their families (who are ALREADY sacrificing more than the rest of us for these wars). Also they need to make DAMN SURE that none of this money gets diverted to anything but the war effort, and that it gets repealed as soon as the war is over.
Thirdly, I kind of feel like if every war America got into included a mandatory temporary tax hike to pay for it, we would get into a lot fewer wars. Heaven forbid the average American have to sacrifice for a war beyond paying a few bucks for a "Support the Troops" bumpersticker or a yellow ribbon car magnet.
In any case, I am curious to see how the Republican leadership will rule in Stay The Course v. No New Taxes