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Pelosi Discovers Her Inner Fiscal Hawk

5:07 PM, Nov 25, 2009 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Nancy Pelosi insists: "We have to look at that war with a green eyeshade on." She is talking about the war in Afghanistan--with anticipation that President Obama will increase resources for the war effort. Increased troops to fight our enemies in Afghanistan will require more money for this effort, of course. And Pelosi and her comrades (especially, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey) want to raise taxes to pay for this. Look who all of a sudden has become a fiscal hawk!

Here are preliminary details:

Obey and several other senior Democrats have proposed a graduated surtax, beginning in 2011, to pay for the war. Their bill would impose a 1% surtax on people earning less than $150,000. The tax hike would be higher for people earning between $150,000 and $250,000 a year, and double that for people with higher incomes. The bill does not give exact figures for what upper surtax rates would be, but says that they would be high enough to cover the previous year's war costs.

On a certain level, this makes perfect sense, right? This Democratic led congress and administration are spending money like drunken sailors. And, at a certain point, funds need to be raised from somewhere.

But let me go ahead and call this nonsense. The Democrats are playing politics.

First, they aim to politicize the entire war effort. The threat to raise taxes to pay for the war serves to weaken support for the troops. When people have to pay directly for something, it increases the likelihood that they will say no. That's why the Democrats are trying to levy direct taxes on the small percentage of Americans who make more than $100,000 to pay for health care (which they support), but are proposing to make a much larger percentage of Americans pay for the war (which they oppose).

And, second, have Democrats lost sight of priorities? They throw away money for a phony stimulus plan at a cost of $787 billion; they insist on a health care plan conservatively estimated to cost more than $2 trillion over 10 years; they have grown the deficit to $1.4 trillion -- during October 2009 alone we fell another $176.4 billion in the hole . But no--money can't be found to support this "war of necessity" without increasing taxes. (By the way, Time estimates the increased cost to be "$30 billion annually for 30,000 more troops. Not chump change, to be sure, but pennies by comparison to the rest of the federal budget.)

Pelosi, and the rest of the House Democrats, need to take off the shades and see reality. America, foremost, faces a national security threat. We must defeat the enemy--no matter the cost.