Friday, December 11, 2009

financing wars

When I learned of Congressman David Obey's [D-Wisc] proposal to levy a surtax to finance the war in Afghanistan, I was intrigued. He's doing it because he is critical of the war and wants to force Republicans to prove their commitment to fiscal integrity, but it still makes good public policy sense. Obey's proposal has several clever features: it doesn't kick in until 2011 and it doesn't apply to people who served in war zones after the 9/11 attacks.

The proposal also gave me an opportunity to remind people how Congress used to be fairly responsible by increasing revenues to offset the costs of U.S. wars. That was generally the case until Vietnam, and hasn't been since.

Anyway, I wrote a piece in the Los Angeles Times and appeared on CSPAN to discuss the idea.

With opposition from other Democrats as well as Republicans, the bill is going nowhere. But I think it's a reasonable idea.

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