What ever happened to the war tax? We had one during WW I although it was called the “Revenue Act” of 1917. During WW II we raised $168 Billion for the effort through taxes (the entire cost of the war was 304 Billion). We raised the rest of the money through long term low interest bonds that were first bought by “civic leaders” and the public than followed suit. Because the interest rates were extremely low there was no quick incentive to cash them out until after the war.
As we entered the 21st century the Bush administration got us into 2 wars; first Afghanistan and than Iraq. In both cases we did not raise taxes but in fact cut them. There was a very deliberate reason for this. If no public “investment” was made in these wars than the people would be more desensitized to the efforts abroad. Think about it; if the government told its people that the war they wanted to engage in was worth the weight than they would ask the public to sacrifice as well. If they told the country that it was such a worthy cause that they were going to implement a “war tax” than the people could than determine if it really was “worth” it to go to war. If they decided it was than the people would be much more interested in the decisions being made by policy wonks domestically and the military abroad. Why? Because it would be their money being spent on these decision. If you decided to invest a substantial amount of your own money in a stock would you ignore that stock for 9 years? Absolutely not. Well that’s exactly what we did in Afghanistan from 2003-2009. Only after Obama came into office did he refocus our efforts on that area (And he still didn’t raise taxes).
I kept hearing pundits saying, “are these the forgotten wars,” or “they don’t even show up on the front page of the newspapers anymore.” There was a reason for that. Our government never asked for a commitment from the country. A commitment that was worthy of the wars themselves. Instead we have sent an all-volunteer fighting force of poor whites and minorities to fight on behalf of a puffy, latte drinking, Lehman brothers, oil spilling, lethargic moribund country. Now were stuck in two wars that are being paid for by China who has not problem letting our soldiers die as long as were dealing with Jihads in their backyard. Who’s gonna take the weight?