Posts Tagged ‘Deficit’

The Path Less Traveled

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Inspired by Path clearing in Congress for Obama’s Syria plan (Ed O’Keefe and Anne Gearan, Washington Post 9/16/14 page A7).

 

 

“And I took the path less traveled by.” – Robert Frost

 

The path is clear because it’s well-traveled,

And that’s why America’s finances have unraveled.

 

Let’s not go down the same path we did before:

Being willing to fight but not pay for a war.

 

What’s wrong with a small and temporary tax hike?

Can’t Republicans agree with pay taxes for things that they like?

 

If it’s worth it to fight to forestall future attacks,

Isn’t it worth paying a small temporary surtax?

***

NB: Dems did in fact propose this in 2007 and 2009. It’s time to bring this idea back.

Update 9/30/14: Today’s Washington Post reports that based on current spending levels, continued air strikes against ISIS will cost $2.4-$3.8 billion per year at low intensity, or $4.2- $6.8 billion at increased intensity. That sounds like a lot, but assuming a cost of $4 billion/year, but compared to projected federal income tax revenue for 2015 of $1.72 trillion, it represents only a an additional 2.3%. That means that a surcharge of only 2.5% would be more than enough to pay for all the costs of the war against ISIS. Note that this is a surcharge, and is not equivalent to a 2.5% tax increase, so the top marginal tax rate would not go from 39.6% to 42.1%. The average American (the middle quintile) pays a federal income tax rate of 3.7%, which this surcharge would temporarily increase to 3.7925%, an increase of less than a tenth of a percent. Similarly, Mitt Romney, who pays about 10% federal income tax, would see his rate increase to a whopping 10.25%. Even the top marginal rate would increase only from 39.6% to 40.59%, less than a percentage point. Again: If it’s worth fighting this war, isn’t it worth paying for it (especially since the surtax would be so small), rather than forcing our children and grandchildren to? So Democrats: when you debate authorization and funding, please also at least try to add a surtax to pay for it.

 

If a war is worth fighting, shouldn’t we ALL share in its costs instead of passing them on to our children?

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