Why tax the rich to pay for more war?
Instead of taxing the rich to enable continued warfare, it would be better to stop the conduct of war.
(Aljazeera) -- by Robert Naiman Last --
Ordinarily, I think of myself as a card-carrying liberal. But lately, I'm getting the feeling that Liberal America had a meeting to decide on our current priorities - and peace advocates weren't invited. I open my email and it's full of rallying cries about the urgency of taxing the rich. When was it decided that taxing the rich was the marquee demand of Liberal America at this juncture? Were peace advocates invited to this meeting? I see no evidence that we were.
In a different political juncture, I would be happy to march behind the banner of taxing the rich. But at this political juncture, when the war budget is half of federal discretionary spending, and when because of the Budget Control Act and the Supercommittee, we have a historic opportunity to cut the war budget - a much better prospect, at present, than our prospects for raising tax rates on rich people - I ain't marching for this dogwhistle anymore.
Suppose there were a massive government program to dump truckloads of dioxin in Lake Michigan. And suppose that - in addition to the direct effects of poisoning a major source of drinking water - this program were tremendously expensive in blood and treasure. Suppose that since October 7, 2001, more than five thousand US workers had been killed carrying out the Lake Michigan-poisoning project, with tens of thousands of US workers counted as wounded, and the real toll of wounded workers many times higher. And suppose that the budgeted cost so far of the massive government program to dump poison in Lake Michigan were over a trillion dollars so far, with the real financial cost to society, when you count things like the future health costs of the poisoned American workers, much higher.
Would the marquee demand of Liberal America be to make Warren Buffett pay his fair share for the Lake Michigan-poisoning program? Or would the marquee demand of Liberal America be to stop dumping poison in Lake Michigan?
Take from the rich, give to the war
If we're going to use the money to kill, imprison, and otherwise oppress people in other countries who have done us no wrong, I would just as soon let Warren Buffett keep his money. Maybe he will donate some of it to a good cause. But even if he uses it to buy caviar, that would be better than continuing the war in Afghanistan, which is, on a routine basis, violating the basic human rights of the Afghan people, in addition to killing and maiming Americans for no good reason. In the November issue of the Atlantic, Matthieu Aikins makes a compelling case that the Pentagon is violating the Leahy Amendment by arming the forces of Afghan warlord Abdul Raziq, given that Raziq's forces have a history of gross human rights abuses as long as your arm. But this Pentagon activity has proceeded unmolested by the Leahy Law.
Why should we take money from Warren Buffett to pay for this? Shouldn't we just stop it?...MORE...LINK