Jim McGovern Dreams the Impossible Dream: Surtax to Pay for Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You hear all the time from Tea Party Republicans how the United States has a "spending problem, not a revenue problem."

In this vein, presidential candidate Michele Bachmann declared the other day that the federal budget is morbidly obese and needs to be put a radical diet. As the winner of the recent Iowa straw poll, Congresswoman Bachmann is considered a leading candidate for the Republican nomination.

The Tea Partiers mean by this kind of talk that they will not, under any circumstances, ever support tax increases to deal with our staggeringly unbelievable federal budget deficit. No Sireee! Spending got us into this mess; cutting spending can get us out of it.

As we saw during the prolonged stalemate/fiasco over raising the federal debt ceiling, in July and early this month, the Tea Partiers put on their tri-cornered hats every morning along with an impervious coat of moral superiority.

Ever seen a big Tea Party guy at a microphone answering a question about making a deal with the Democrats to pair a bit of tax increasing with a lot of budget slashing? Their contempt for the other side is as thick as the humidity in D.C. this time of year.

They may not say it, but you know that many of them believe those calling for higher taxes are traitors to the founding principles of America, and that patriots like themselves are the only ones standing between America and ruin.

To maintain the sheen on that armor of righteousness, however, they must avoid certain grubby realities, like the huge cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which accounts for more than $1 trillion of our current deficit.

Despite the big defeat the Republicans handed President Obama on the debt ceiling, there are still some Democrats in Washington who have the effrontery to keep pushing taxes. Jim McGovern, the Congressman from Worcester whose mentor was Joe Moakley, recently made news by saying that Congress's new debt-reduction "Super-Committee" (of which our senior senator, John Kerry, is a prominent member) should definitely have a "war surtax" on its agenda.

"These wars ought to be paid for and not put on a credit card so that our kids will have to pay for this in the future," McGovern told the Washington Post. See http://www/washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-war-tax-its-still-not-a-bad-idea/

"It's morally wrong," McGovern emphasized, "for members (of Congress) to call for support of our soldiers and then not ask the rest of us to pay for it...or have it left to the poor and middle-income and seniors to bear the sacrifice along with our soldiers and their families. That's wrong."

Who does McGovern think he is, talking morals when this deficit is all about spending?

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