War and Taxes

The battle in Congress over taxes is -- historically -- unprecedented and unAmerican.

We are in a time of war!

Our government sent our young men and women to foreign soil to die, or return home torn and injured -- ravaged by the effects of the destruction and damage people can inflict on each other.

With most wars there is sacrifice and that sacrifice is shared by all countrymen and women. But these wars have narrowed the painful sacrifices to a very few families and groups.

Whether you were for the war or, like me, against it, the reality is our troops are engaged in a life and death struggle; one that few Americans are invested in.

The burdens of war are costly in both lives and treasure. The current costs to taxpayers for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have exceeded $1.2 trillion and Professor's Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes believe it will cost $3 trillion. Their estimates include the "Hidden Costs of the War."

Have the wars been worth the tremendous sacrifices of some Americans?

A more important question is can the nation ever recover from the high cost of these wars?

Probably not!

Suffering from these wars has been narrowly focused, piled on a few, while non-existent for the rest. But the cost is now being felt in the economy; the high cost of war has damaged the entire economic system.

In past wars, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam, the price has been borne by the entire nation in the form of higher taxes. But, not for these wars.

Every war, prior to the ill-conceived Bush Wars, was paid for by higher taxes. Top marginal rates were raised to help us recover from the ravages of war.

As an example, during World War I, top marginal tax rates jumped to 67% in 1917 from a rate of 15% in 1916. In 1918 rates climbed to the 70's reaching a high of 77 percent.

Likewise, in World War II rates rose to 81% in 1940, 88% in '42, and 91% in '44. They fell to the 80% range from '46 through '49.

The Korean Conflict saw top marginal tax rates back at 91% and they remained at that level until 1963. And Vietnam saw top rates at 70% and it stayed at that rate for the next 16 years.

Historically, the wealthy have paid their fair share for the wars we've fought.

The arguments about low taxes, pushed by Republicans today, are not just ignorant -- they're unpatriotic.

Both history and common-sense should have driven Congress to raise taxes to pay for these never-ending wars they've thrust us into in the Middle East. But right-wing ideologues are blind to the need for shared sacrifice. Instead of raising taxes in a time of war they lowered them -- not once, but twice.

Republicans need to remove their red blinders and view the devastation they've caused the bulk of American citizens and families; the damage, the trillions of wasted dollars have done to the economy; a lack of revenue that has caused a huge deficit; the unseemly greed of those they're protecting; and the ruinous path they've chosen for this nation. They might then see the truth and do the right thing.

It's doubtful they're capable of doing that. They're predisposed to transferring wealth and ruining the economy.

More responsible representatives 'of the people' would have already raised taxes and/or gotten rid of the tax loopholes for the upper brackets to help repay the costs of war. These efforts would have begun as early as 2002.

Marginal rates should be back to 90% and must stay there for years to make up for the mistake of unfunded wars and a decade of low taxes.

There is little hope that will occur considering the new idiots we've elected to Congress and their blinding zealotry.

As long as the current Republicans are in Congress this nation will suffer, the slide downhill will continue, and we will slide into another painful recession.

Let's not kill one more brave American in the name of Republican promoted corporate greed!

Republican's reluctance and the president's capitulation regarding taxes have created another war which is unwinnable; a war closer to home, the war on taxes -- an unpatriotic culture war that will have no winners.

The consequences are killing this country!