War! Good God, what does it go for? Absolutely nothing!

Here’s a simple proposal, taking David Obey’s Share Our Sacrifice Act to a logical conclusion (thanks to Andrew Sullivan for leading me there).

  • Any approval by Congress of military action must be accompanied by an immediate income surtax to fund the operation.
  • The tax will end at the operation’s end, and must cover the entire costs of the operation. The rate will adjust as the costs of the operation change, e.g. as the operation grows or contracts.
  • An individual serving on active duty, or a jointly-filing family with a member on active duty, is exempted from the tax.

You should probably account for cost savings (if any) resulting from the operation. Perhaps overtaxes can go towards paying down the deficit or something, after the CBO comes up with a reasonable cost savings estimate.

It should go without saying that the tax rate would be progressive, but I’ll say it anyway.

There are probably any number of problems with this. But at the core: If we aren’t willing to pay for a war (and I mean us, not our kids), maybe we shouldn’t be fighting it.