Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke’s War Tax is Wrong-Headed

Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is proposing a “war tax” on individuals who haven’t served in the military.

The former Congressman proposed this tax as a way to support veterans and ease the burden of the military conflict.

According to The Federalist, the “war tax” is “part of the candidate’s new plan to provide better services to the nation’s veterans and to end the “Forever Wars” in the Middle East.”

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O’Rourke’s plan declares, “The time has come to cancel the blank check for endless war and to ensure that any future engagements are the result of a national conversation about our security interests and duly authorized by Congress.”

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According to O’Rourke, the “war tax” only applies to households without current and former members of the military. The Federalist reports that “Qualifying households with an income below $30,000 a year would pay $25, and those making under $40,000 annually would pay $57. Households with an income below $50,000 would pay $98, those making less than $75,000 would pay $164 and those under $100,000 would pay $270. Households making less than $200,000 would pay $485 and those making above $200,000 would pay $1,000.”

If this tax is implemented by Congress, that tax revenue would be placed into a new “Veterans Health Care Trust Fund.” O’Rourke claims that this tax would provide better veteran health care for each war America is involved in. In the past, O’Rourke has proposed the war tax legislation in 2016 and 2017 while serving on the House’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders previously endorsed the idea of a war tax as well. O’Rourke has called for America to pull out of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although O’Rourke’s desire is well-intentioned, the manner of implementation of O’Rourke’s plan is wrong-headed. Getting troops out of these never-ending wars does not require taxation. Instead, it requires political will. That means standing up to defense interests and actually following through with troop withdrawals.

There is no need for taxation to achieve this. President Trump, despite several obstacles in front of him, has at least made moves to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Let’s stick to that.

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