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November 30th, 2009
10:31 AM ET

War tax proposed to pay for troop surge

After weeks of anticipation, President Obama is finally scheduled to unveil his plans for Afghanistan in a prime time speech tomorrow. He's expected to call for an additional 34,000 U.S. troops.

Some congressional Democrats are already voicing concern about the costs and are even proposing a surtax to fund future military operations in Afghanistan.

Connecticut Rep. John Larson co-authored the legislation for a war tax. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on American Morning Monday.

Related: Share the Sacrifice Act of 2010

Filed under: Afghanistan • Politics
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Jim

    The Congressman briefed that this tax will be levied on folks making greater than $150K per year. I don't make that much–and I bet you lunch that most of the folks on here don't either–but if the Congressman would like to give me enough of his paycheck to supplement my income (as an active duty US Serviceman) so as to get me to $150,000.01, then I will gladly turn around and pay them the $1500 in tax.

    December 3, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  2. Ben

    Share the sacrifice Act? I agree that men in uniform are taking on way more than their fair share in this war, but this is not going to help that. This plan would lower the take home pay of anyone making between $22,600 and $150,000. That range includes every US solder. How are we lessening their share of the burden by paying them less when at the same time we are asking so much more of them. We have enough military families living on food stamps. Find someone else to squeeze more money out of.

    December 3, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  3. Old Enough To Know

    It's a shame that the government is looking for a bail out to finance their inability to spend within their own budget. This "war tax" is double dipping into the overtaxed pockets of the American people. Trying to justify this "war tax" by guilting us into believing that this generation would be not as "patriotic" as the one which "stepped up" and sacrificed for the financing of WWII is unforgivable. After the loss of over 11,000 American lives, it seems our government is too afraid, embarrassed and/or ashamed to admit that this is the kind of war that so far, can not be won using the tactics we have chosen. While at home unemployment continues to erode our economy, our borders are not much more secure, and even a cocktail reception with the President can't be secured by our Secret Service well enough to keep out a couple of party crashers! There is plenty of work to do right here at home, before we continue to expend any more American lives and American money chasing ghosts in the desert under the guise of "protecting our interests abroad"!

    December 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  4. PTBItt

    Pay me now or pay me later – you still pay

    Bush doubled the National Debt to pay for his war, but by borrowing the money, Congress and the President minimized opposition.

    By introducing a "War Tax", Larson intends to maximize the oppostion NOW.

    December 1, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  5. Gary

    We need to raise taxes to pay for more than just the war. If we don't we'll have an entire nation like California is now. The sins of the past, both democrat and republican sins, need to be paid for or our kids will be living in a third world country.

    That aside, we should abandon these wars and let the nations fend for themselves. We could have answered 9/11 with cruise missiles and daisy cutters and never put a boot on the ground. We can still deal with any terrorist training areas with the same cruise missiles and daisy cutters. The U.S. should not be the world police officers. Let China do it, they have more people and they don't seem to care about them.

    As to the remaining Iranian "threat", I have a solution. We tell them to go ahead and build their bomb. But, if a nuke goes off in the world, anywhere in the world and it did not show up on radar we're going to assume the source was Iran and act accordingly.

    December 1, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  6. scott

    How about we tax people who've never served in the military since they get all benefits without the cost. This way the cost is shared by them

    December 1, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  7. Scott2031

    The purpose of government is to:
    Provide infrastructure (roads) and maintain them
    armed forces
    provide law enforcement

    All this other stuff they they have gotten into (regulation and provide health care, etc) is superflous. The more they get into, the worse it gets for us. They are supposed to provide our national defense from the taxes they already take. Look how the vaccine production and providing was done – Not enough for demand. That is how it will be with the national health care system. The stuff the government gets into except for the list above, they should stay out of.

    December 1, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  8. Crappy Computer

    Yeah this won't end the war at all. If you want to end the war you have to put senators on the front lines. Anyone who supports this tax is a complete idiot. All your doing is giving corrupt politicians more leeway to steal even more money to use for their own corrupt purposes. Taxes don't do anything people. The rich get paid in dividends, which doesn't count as income. When they talk about raising the taxes, its on you, not on the tax dodging rich. Left or Right, its tax the middle class into extinction, borrow beyond anyones means, spend on pet projects and war, and grease the wheels for their wealthy friends.

    You want to know why were fighting a war in Packistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq? Go look at a map. We've got Iran surrounded. Want to know why? The Taliban? Get real. Its about oil. Were running out so we are trying to secure as much as we can be conquering the middle east. If they didn't have oil, we wouldn't be fighting there.

    December 1, 2009 at 11:41 am |
  9. Robert Lamarche

    "Share the Pain Act of 2010": How about Mr. Larson and his colleagues would forfeit their salaries, perks and pensions to help support the unemployed and homeless until they really fix this country's problems...

    December 1, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  10. Bloody Glove

    Also if the tax is passed, would it not be another broken promise from our President, who stated during his campaign that people earning under $250,000 would not see any of their taxes increased?

    December 1, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  11. Arkay, MI

    The reason we are in this recession is because of the 'borrow and spend policy' that has been effect since Reagan (with a brief period of surplus in the late 90's). American people like short term solutions and charge expenses to the credit card. They do not like anyone even suggesting a tax increase. Henry's post above is a case in point. US should just declare victory and stop feeding the military industrial complex with money borrowed from our children.

    December 1, 2009 at 11:05 am |
  12. Richard D.

    I work for myself. I pay $9,125 a year for school taxes (my kids go to private schools because the immigration influx has skewed the teacher to student ratio and 40% of them are a transient population with no work now that the economy is in the toilet but I have to pay for their kids to go to school – but that's a separate issue). $425 per year in library taxes. $450 per year to park at the train station while commuting into the city. Heck, what's an additional 1%?

    Why not have the corporations that have the massive government supplier contracts take a 5% abatement on the net margins of their contracts? That should give us a war tax surplus for the next 3 years?

    December 1, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  13. jerry

    These jerks in Congress get themselves in messes like Iraq and Afghanistan without any thought of the consequences of getting our troops out and how to pay for a war. They continue to support leadership that is corrupt and funnel billions of tax dollars down the drain with nothing in return. Iraq is rich in oil but is not wanting to provide the US with any of it or help repay any of the money spent there by our Government.
    If anyone votes for an incumbent the next election they need to have their heads examined. This group will continue to spend our country into oblivion and only look out for themselves.
    We get rid of them now or quit complaining about the worthliness they have shown in leading our country down the drain.

    December 1, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  14. Grumpy

    Why stop at 1, 2, or 5%? How about instituting a 10 or 15% war tax. While we are at it we should get the draft going again. The new draft should have no loop holes. Everyone drafted serves in the war. Especially rich, white politician's children. These two policies will put and end to these senseless wars very quickly. I'm sure the folks on Wall Street won't be too happy with the government that they paid for if the said government wants to ship their kids off to war.

    December 1, 2009 at 8:09 am |
  15. Ralph

    No tax,withdraw. The war(s) is about securing energy resources (oil, gas & strstegic materials). The Gulf, Middle East & Caspian regions contain over 70% of energy resources. Afghanistan is needed for pipelines through it from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. We already have plenty of private contractors there & a $680 billion military budget doesn't include contractors nor, money hidden in other budgets like the State Dept., Energy, Defense etc. We need to negotiate, not shed blood.

    December 1, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  16. ronvan

    IF a "war tax" was passed my only concern is would it wind up going for this "war-conflict", or as usual, would our "elected officials" get their hands into it for their own gain!

    December 1, 2009 at 7:30 am |
  17. Larry V. Howe

    A War Tax ? If the U.S. [stick its nose in everyones business] Goverment would stop its wars in meaningless countrys, the U.S. could pay for its Health Care program and a Employment program with out running a deficit, and have NO new tax.

    December 1, 2009 at 7:27 am |
  18. christa

    Cheney should just shut up. Him and his republican cronies started the war in Iraq, it should have been Afghanistan and no other country. Now Cheney talks against our president, but he seems to forget, that it was'nt the Democrats who started the war, but him and Bush, who wanted to lay their hands on foreign oil. On top most of the contracts were given to Haliburton, even tough we have enough other companies who could also do the job. We know that Cheney was for awhile in charge of Haliburton and he probably and he made millionsfrom taxpayers money. It would be interesting to know how much his networth was before the war in Iraq started and how much it is now. A couple of years ago they said that Haliburton maybe move to Saudi Arabia, because they do not want to pay taxes, so it tells you how corrupt Cheney and his cronies are.

    December 1, 2009 at 7:21 am |
  19. Scotty

    He mentions what we did in WWII, why not do the same now instead of levying a tax. This man is a bit off with his thinking here. With the economy what it is now this is not the time to come up with NEW revenue for the .gov, its a time for the .gov to cut back and reduce spending mightily not just in gestures but significantly. This man is nowhere near reality, sadly he is a beltway fool like all the rest up there. Their mindset is not in touch with the reality of the rest of the nation. If this man is an elected official I think he just signed his political death warrant.

    December 1, 2009 at 1:54 am |
  20. Robert


    Living in a democracy means majority rule. Majority rule means sometimes you have to abide by laws you don't agree with if you're of a minority opinion. I don't want to pay a war tax either, but it doesn't matter whether we agree with the war, it would be the LAW to pay your tax and you WILL do it or be a lawbreaker and subject to the consequences.

    December 1, 2009 at 1:10 am |
  21. Dean

    Afghanistan has been the scene of fighting for over 2,000 years. Most major countries and peoples have had their hand at fighting there (and losing). Study history. The place has been nothing but a pit of misery and destruction. When they cant fight foreigners, they turn on each other.

    Our soldiers are NOT policemen. That entire place is not worth 1 American life. Bring them home.

    December 1, 2009 at 12:43 am |
  22. Selena

    Although I AM NOT PRO-WAR, I am also not against it. I do PROUDLY support ALL the troops in theatre and stateside. I will gripe about the war tax, but I will say......Let us not allow this war to become another Veit Nam.

    Oh yeah, so much for the Nobel "Peace" Prize, huh?

    December 1, 2009 at 12:07 am |
  23. Robert Stokely

    Share the Sacrifice? War Tax? It is plain deceitful (or as Wilson of South Carolina would say "You Lie") to put forth that this plan exempts families of the fallen. First, the bill does not mention the word "family" – it gives an exemption to the person(s) who received the fallen soldier's death gratuity. Thus, it will not exempt most of the fallen's family and in some cases none of the fallen's family. So, for those of us who are family of a fallen soldier, and who did not get the death gratuity, and thus are deemed "not family" and not eligible to be exempt from this war tax because we need to "Share the Sacrifice", I ask – just how much is our Share of the Sacrifice given the loss we have suffered?

    Robert Stokely
    proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
    KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq
    USA E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG

    December 1, 2009 at 12:01 am |
  24. Dunc

    I don't support these wars, never did but yes we should have a war tax. This tax should be paid by republicans and any other smuck who Voted for it. DOWN WITH THE USA ! Let us overthrow this government and install a democracy!

    November 30, 2009 at 11:56 pm |
  25. the rector

    Let wall st pay for the troop surge. They are the ones who have proffited from obamas presidency thus far. Not to mention the fact that they don't pay their fair share of taxes anyway. Eventually the citizens of this country will be pushed far enough to start pushing back and not just by voting the incumbent politicians out but by acting in their own best interest. When will we the people realize that we could put a stop to all this nonsense by simply refusing to pay the illegal federal income taxes that we are saddled with? If you starve these theives out of washington they will not be able to send our children to die in a god forsaken desert, nor will they be able to save their alumnist pals when they screw up the world economy. It is time for every true american to stop paying for all this crap and force the government to do our bidding. When a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design toward the goal of reducing them under absolute despotisim, it is their right, it is their duty to throw off such government and provide new guards for their future security. It was good enough for our founding fathers, it should be good enough for us.

    November 30, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  26. Dave C

    An excellent idea. I will hound my congressman for this one.

    Let us all feel a (small) part of the pain of these wars. And set the tax so that over the next four years it pays off the last eight. That will come to $400B a year in taxes.

    You'll think twice next time you casually cheer for war.

    November 30, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  27. Don Bodey

    Absolutely NOT !! where does this taxation horror end!!! I agree with the good Colonel. I spent 11 years Air Force to protect this country and I'm tired of giving up 25 or 30 % of my wages to fuel this bloated political system that sucks the life out of its citizens so it can "be on top" in regards to the rest of the world.

    November 30, 2009 at 9:16 pm |
  28. Bruce

    I understand that every 1000 troops deployed to Afghanistan correlates to about $1 billion per year in expense. If that's true, we're already spending about $65 billion per year, and we will be increasing that expense to about $100 billion per year, for about 5 years.

    Regretfully, i just don't think that we can continue to bear even the existing burden, particularly when our economy in in the tank and we are
    looking at huge amounts of additional spending for medical reform, global warming abatement, public infrastructure repair, school improvements, job retraining, etc.

    Much as I hate to admit it, we can't do it all, and Afghanistan is less of a priority. We've learned that there is no easy way out of this kind of insurgency, and that "peace with honor" is an elusive goal.

    November 30, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  29. Steve Fortuna

    Rep Larson, if you voluntarily give up your cushy pension and healthcare and tax the Beltway Bandits like CAIC, Booze-Allen, Lockheed and the oil companies who are making a killing on the sacrifice of the middle class and SEND YOUR KIDS TO FIGHT, then maybe we can choke down a tax increase.

    November 30, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  30. Jeff Patrick

    Gee folks, let's not just allow the gov't tax us working class Amerikans
    for a war that will ever end. Next thing the gov't will be doing is taking our checks away and maybe deport us for not supporting the war.
    I say to all politicians who voted for all the wars in the past 10 years. I now say to all Amerikan voters, let's vote to send all of them to "Harm's Way" and bring our military men and women home instead.

    November 30, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  31. History

    Excellent. All wars should be funded this way. These days Americans don't even feel the effects of a war at home. We could be rationing food, fabric, and metals to support the war effort, like we did in WWI and WWII, but instead we borrowed the money and gave tax cuts. This country wouldn't ever have rushed into Iraq if the American people knew that they would actually have to give something up. Yes, we need to get out of these wars, but the only acdeptable way to do that is to win them; and in order to win them, we need to send more troops. It'll work, and we need to pay for it. If and when the future brings our country another chance to go to war, maybe we'll think about it a little harder, have a real plan, and win it quickly.

    November 30, 2009 at 6:52 pm |
  32. FatSean

    I agree with the war tax. We have to pay for all these years of war. Bush charged it, Obama needs to pay it in cash. Pro-war Americans should be glad to pay this tax as a way of making up for their lack of volunteerism for the wars they demanded.

    November 30, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  33. jazz


    will we go to jail now if we dont support the war??

    You know the patriot act VIOLATES the CONSTITUTION (as ammended) RIGHT? I dont see anyone in Washington paying for TREASON as of late for that one......wonder how long THIS will continue.

    this guy needs to be shot and buried someplace where nobody can find him. Just my 2C.

    November 30, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  34. Rodger P

    What do you mean surtax? They just raise our taxes anyway. I already pay enough tax. If our lawmakers would stop suffocating (heads up their rectums) we wouldn't be in this mess.

    November 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  35. Jeff

    If there was accountability of actions by our government, and if the American public was given the opportunity to vote on this tax (and it was approved by the citizens, not politicians serving personal agendas), I would back the purposed surtax. Other than that, this is political posturing. It will do nothing to end the conflict that is taking place.Taxes are not the answer for everything. I am very thankful for the sacrifice made by our troops, but to what end? We turn our heads away from the opium business that funds the very people we are fighting in Afghanistan. People have to want change for change to be successful. Take care of your home before you take care of anyone elses.

    November 30, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  36. Rick Honeberger

    When I have to start paying more and more taxes to support Congresses wars then I better be able to have "MY" voice heard and not through our congressmen who haven't been speaking for anyone but themselves for a long time.
    What does it take for you people in Washington D.C. to listen to us? "us" as in U.S. citizens.

    November 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  37. Jimbo

    Are you kidding me, First WE bailout the wall street crooks, Now they want us to pay for their war that has done nothing for our security, nothing for our integrity, and certainly was something,"we the people" did not want. Stick this tax and the war in your pipe and choke on it.

    November 30, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  38. Denis Muller

    I disagree with any WAR SURTAX proposed, Rep. John Larson should along with all the other RICH politicians contribute their wealth to pay for the war, or end it... They have all the benefits normal people do not have. Plus this reference to WWII is a ridiculous, this is not WWII... I "sacrificed" 25 years of my life for this great nation as a US Marine Corps Officer, I pay taxes already and get by, many in this nation do not have the personal financial comforts of our elected officials and cannot afford another tax, period. The government should stop spending or should I say giving away the nation's assets to help other nations and illegal aliens when we have so many homeless and people in need here in the USA... God Bless America!!! Lieutenant Colonel Denis Muller, USMC (Ret.)

    November 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  39. Sharon Hagedorn

    Absolutely not!!!! Obama campaigned on getting us out of the war and now he's escalating it! What happened to bringing the troops home? Once the tax is levied it would be hard to end it. Same old tax and spend Democratic tactics. They can tax themselves and leave the rest of us alone.

    November 30, 2009 at 3:39 pm |
  40. Tyler Gee

    It is about time some one in Washington has seen the light. The Democrats have long been accused of "tax and spend" policies while this is really the way things should be. The previous administration followed the path of "borrow and spend" to hide the true cost of this war which is one of the big reasons we are in the mess we find ourselves in.
    Since it is the Republican lawmakers that want to continue this billion dollar a week war let them be the ones who vote to raise everyones taxes to continue it. The taxpayers need to know what the real cost of this war is so they can decide if they want to continue supporting the politicians who want this war.

    November 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  41. henry

    John Larson should be in jail. His career is over. Vote against John Larson with good reason!

    November 30, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  42. Larry

    There is no limit to how many times a pig will go to the trough if the pig sees the trough as being without limits.

    November 30, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  43. Paul W

    Great idea I'm All For it.

    November 30, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  44. Brian N

    As if we do not get taxed enough already. These scumbags make me sick.

    November 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  45. Charlie

    Don't be fair to have those war monger Republicans to pay this war tax instead of us who have been against this war from the beginning? Any congress members who have voted for this war should be taxed @ 100% to show and backup their war monger hawk color.

    NO way, I would pay war tax for the war that I have been against from the beginning.

    November 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  46. Muslim


    Does it matter what the viewer thinks? The fact about this whole matter is that the propaganda machine, and CNN will be a part of it, will make it "Unpatriotic" not to pay the taxes.

    The second you say you don't want to pay those taxes, you will have the "Talking heads", not much unlike those who are employed at CNN talking about how "YOU ARE A TERRORIST SUPPORTER IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO PAY THE TAXES."

    November 30, 2009 at 1:20 pm |