Rep. David Obey (D., Wis.) has proposed a controversial approach to funding the war in Iraq: Raise taxes to pay for it. Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, wants President Bush to stop pretending the war costs nothing while passing the bill onto a future administration.
Obey's bill hasn't received much support and is especially distasteful to the Democratic leadership. But lack of support doesn't concern Obey. He says the legislation calls Bush's bluff on newfound fiscal responsibility. Obey's bill gets to the heart of issues I've noticed are conspicuously absent from the national debate: the deficit and the national debt. Now, not four years down the line, is the time to have the discussion about the opportunity cost of war. Debate is crucial now, when the money we're pouring into Iraq might be better served investing in America's ability to compete in a global marketplace. Bush is the first president in our history not to ask Americans to sacrifice during a time of war. In fact, the president did the opposite. He passed tax cuts that mostly benefited the wealthy and told Americans to go shopping after 9/11. Obey points out that we spend more than $10 billion a month in Iraq and that the only people asked to sacrifice are military families. To date, more than 3,800 soldiers have died in Iraq; another 27,700 have been wounded.