Getting Things For Nothing


One of the reasons why Americans are so indifferent to the U.S. invading other countries is because the wars usually don’t affect us at all. Do you think that all of the Republican war-mongers would be so eager to support the ongoing, ineffectual wars in Afghanistan and Iraq if Americans were actually made to pay for the wars instead of just borrowing the money from abroad? For example, George W. Bush did the unprecedented: he lowered taxes while fighting two wars. Eventually, but not on W.’s watch, both will have to be paid for.

On today’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the round table discussed a completely hypothetical (it is never going to happen) surtax to pay for Afghanistan. Former Bush senior strategist Matthew Dowd (ironically) described the problem perfectly,

I agree there is not going to be a surtax, but I think this goes to a fundamental value that I think we’ve lost, which is that we can get things for nothing, that we can go to war and not have to pay for it, either by cutting the budget or doing something else. We have a war, we don’t have a draft. All of these sorts of things, that we, think, oh, by the way, we can go fight the most important war in the history of our country, but we’re not going to have a draft, we’re not going to pay for it, we’re not going to do anything that causes anybody to sacrifice.

Imagine legislation that required all military interventions to be paid for through taxes. The citizens’ notion of what was and was not in our vital national security interests would change drastically.



Filed under Essays, Obama 44

5 responses to “Getting Things For Nothing

  1. ReWrite

    excellent post. And what are we getting out of Afghanistan?

  2. eric

    What do we get? We get a sense of revenge. We get a macho president. We get a congress full of tough guys. We get happy brass.

  3. 50% of all legislation is paid for with debt, so how is that different from the military, which is run by the government, which is run from debt?

    How about this: I will have paid into SS/Medicare/Medicaid for over forty years by the time I am eligible to receive any benefits … but it won’t be available when I am eligible because it is already buried in the red?

    I’m paying for illegal aliens to have rights and privileges of citizenship, while they pay nothing …?

    This has been the story since before the first World War; and because of idiots who continually listen and believe the media morons, it will never change.

    Get comfortable with it, it’s only going to extrapolate into more debt for the Chinese to buy … which Clinton was the initiator of, while also selling off technology secrets and sacrificing national security … ooops, my bad, he wasn’t a “Republican” or a “conservative”, I guess I shouldn’t be pointing out his traitorous behavior … mea culpa.

  4. eric

    Yes, Clinton was the best Republican president in a generation, and he played for the Democrats….

    The point is that the only one who makes sacrifices for the war are the soldiers and their families. That is because no one would be willing to assume any of its burdens. We debate the costs of health care and everything thing else, but never the cost of war.

  5. That might be because the actual cost of war is not measurable in dollars and cents. The ramifications go far beyond simple economics and financial accounting.

    It is, as it has ever been, and ever will be.

    So much for the grandeur of the hominid mind. LMMFAOROTFLMMFAO … score.

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