Who Pays For War?

I am antiwar basically because there is NO shared experience….about 1% of the population fights these wars ….what kind of war asks for no sacrifice?

War taxes, like conscription, used to be synonymous with war. In addition to generating revenue, taxes also created an accountability linkage between leaders and their conduct of war. As Charles Tilly put it in his observations on fiscal sociology, taxation “constitutes the largest intervention of governments in their subjects’ private life.” Centuries earlier, Adam Smith recognized this when he worried that leaders might sidestep war taxes — which he favored as an equitable and financially sound way to finance wars — out of concern for “offending the people, who, by so great and so sudden an increase of taxes, would soon be disgusted with the war.” It was exactly that possibility of disgust, however, that provided accountability. If leaders of democratic political systems had to introduce taxes to pay for wars, they would think twice about the wars they started and keep them shorter and less costly.


Our many wars are costing in the trillions of dollars…..and we are reducing taxes annually…..and we seem to be starting new wars annually….when will we reach the limits of war to costs?

Overseas, the United States is engaged in real wars in which bombs are dropped, missiles are launched, and people (generally not Americans) are killed, wounded, uprooted, and displaced. Yet here at home, there’s nothing real about those wars.  Here, it’s phony war all the way. In the last 17 years of “forever war,” this nation hasn’t for one second been mobilized. Taxes are being cut instead of raised.  Wartime rationing is a faint memory from the World War II era.  No one is being required to sacrifice a thing.

Now, ask yourself a simple question: What sort of war requires no sacrifice?  What sort of war requires that almost no one in the country waging it take the slightest notice of it?


I have tried to make people understand how much war cost the American taxpayer and what we can do o change the dynamic…..when I speak to people they seem to glaze over when I quote the numbers to them…..

estimates issued by the Pentagon, the Costs of War Project has, for instance, come up with a comprehensive estimate of what the war on terror has actually cost this country since 2001: $5.6 trillion. It’s an almost unfathomably large number. Imagine, though, if we had invested such funds in more cancer research or the rebuilding of America’s infrastructure.

That $5.6 trillion includes the costs of caring for post-9/11 veterans as well as spending to prevent terrorist attacks on U.S. soil (“homeland security”). That figure and its annual updates do make the news in places like the Wall Street Journal and the Atlantic magazine and are regularly cited by reporters. Even President Trump, we suspect, has absorbed and, in his typical fashion, inflated our work in his comment at the end of last year that the U.S. has “foolishly spent $7 trillion in the Middle East” (which just months earlier, more in line with our estimate, he had at $6 trillion).

(informed comment)

Few can imagine that amount….most get lost when the total reaches a million….if we are spending trillions that could be used elsewhere what can we do to finance these wars without end?

I have tried to explain how we could have our social programs and wars at the same time….a war tax.

I mentioned a tax and now eyes roll and people get their hackles up because they do not want more taxes they want less.  Good for them but if you want to be the muscle of the rest of the world something has got to be done.  (I got that covered)


Wait there is more…..


Finally someone is seeing what needs to be done to finance these wars without end…..

A maverick lawmaker on the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday boosted a modest proposal made years ago by then-Sen. Charles Rangel: a dedicated “war tax” that would draw attention to military spending and force Americans to confront the cost of defense.

Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, is perhaps best known for his advocacy on behalf of troops and military families, despite staunch opposition to recent wars, including those in Iraq and Afghanistan.


You can be as patriotic as you like….but if a war must be fought then it needs a forward looking plan to pay for it.


13 thoughts on “Who Pays For War?

  1. Again I am reminded of the response from the WOPR computer in in “War Games” (Matthew Broderick) when it was trying to win at tic-tack-toe.. sometimes the solution to the ramifications of war is “…not to play the game.” to begin with.

      1. It is a tough debate. I am personally in a quandary over the concept of war.. is it a moral event of a gut-wrenching fulfillment of a human condition that has to run it’s course in order for us to avoid it at all costs in the future. There’s all kinds of quotes.. from Patton, to Nietche, to Sun Tsu, yada yada. I honestly tend to lean toward the moral concept that war is sometimes necessary and if you have to fight, you fight to win in any and all ways possible, for as ugly and destructive as it is, that in itself becomes the future impetus for not wanting to engage in war to begin with.. and solving issues in other ways.
        Unfortunately weapons technology has allowed us to insert morality into fighting wars, thus we seldom fight to win as much as we fight to re-gain the peace. We try to “cleanse” fighting, setting rules for fighting, and totally confusing the soldier in the filed who is told to defend his country.. but… there are rules and if you violate them.. or somehow let your human emotions pull your trigger.. it’s YOUR fault. Fucking insane situations we put ourselves in.
        The days where …”when you put your hand into a bunch of goo that a moment before was your best friend’s face, you’ll know what to do.” was some inspiration to fight back with more vigor… are way gone. Nowadays when you put your hand into that goo that’s your best friend’s face and you feel like getting even on the enemy, well, that’s when you check into the med station and get medi-vaced to some psych ward at Ramstein. The idea of total war is to win it, and because of the terror of it, the desire is there to avoid it at all costs in the future.

        I have no answers… but this “surgical strike” mindset is not working.

      2. Humans fighting among themselves has always been inevitable because it’s part of the human condition. Essentially the only control we have is the “where” and “when”, and therein, I feel ,rests the hope for humanity; putting it off for as long as we can. When “we” have wavered has been when one side or the other, or both, presume the price of conflict is worth the end result… that the price for the last war in suffering and destruction, however far back in history that was, has faded in memory.

      3. A condition that could be broken if they desired it….the thing is they relish conflict and armed confrontation……a learned condition…..chuq

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