09/02/2014 10:04 am ET Updated Nov 02, 2014

Why an 'ISIL War Tax' and a 'Russia Containment Tax' Are Necessary -- Now

It is a given that actions against ISIL and Russia will be undertaken, and each has that ring of "prolonged" to it that indicates it will require both patience and financing.

Although the neoconistas are trying to bait the president to act as imprudently as they did (as Bill Kristol suggested, "oh just bomb a few weeks and see what happens"), it does not seem as if this president will be snookered into rash, unilateral or poorly conceived actions.

Whatever those actions may be, however, they will come with a financial cost. Hiding them in "supplementals" as the Bush administration did may be a cute budget trick, but it is all added to the debt.

That raises the question of how to pay for them. That question should not be ignored or taken lightly.

There are three choices: take money from domestic programs; add to the debt; or raise revenue through some sort of tax.

Republicans have been on the warpath against domestic spending, preferring to sit idly by while our infrastructure crumbles, and proposing deep cuts into our research and development funding, nutrition, health and even to end Medicare, whose solvency Obamacare, that Republicans want to repeal, has extended from 2016 pre-Obamacare to 2030 now.

Much of their rhetoric has invoked cries of "Greece, Greece, Greece" and lies about President Obama's domestic spending increases, that were actually the lowest in decades. The Tea Party, shouting "Greece, Greece, Greece" and "Grandchildren, grandchildren, grandchildren" arose in the first place with the aim of ending nearly all discretionary and mandatory non-defense spending.

Just because the increased spending is required against foreign threats cannot possibly change their calculus on the dangers of debt. Debt is debt. After all, if debt were dangerous before, it must be even more frightening now because of the prolonged costly requirements of our foreign endeavors.


We have all seen the movie. It played during the 2000s as Republicans lied us into a $1 Trillion (and still counting) war while cutting taxes for the wealthy, and then plunging the country into the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Then they insisted the budget crisis, into which they plunged us, was so severe that we could no longer afford to pay the benefits we have earned and paid for in Social Security and Medicare, and had to cut back on essential programs such as nutrition, research and development, education and infrastructure that had made America's economy the envy of the world.

It will happen again as the costs for our increased actions in the middle east and central Europe mount.

The time to prevent that is now. Fighting that battle by referencing back to the source of the debt has not worked. Moreover, in this mid-term election season, it provides everyone the "opportunity" of showing their true mettle.

Indeed, one might regard the test of Republican resolve to support these measures as whether they are willing to raise revenues to pay for them. If ISIL is the threat they claim, and it may well be, then surely a tax of 0.5 percent on financial transactions ("FAT") should be a small price to pay for our defense.

And, there should be no sunset provision. We are going to be at these challenges for a long time to come. Surely, no one wants America to have to abandon leadership because we have gone broke paying for it.

Let us hear them explain why increasing the debt is not a problem; or , why we should weaken our own country by letting our infrastructure crumble rather than having the financial class, whom we taxpayers rescued just a few years ago, shoulder this increased cost.

After all, if we are not to increase our debt to confront these threats, someone has to pay for it. Why should the poor and middle class make all the sacrifices? This is true on its own merits, but even more so when one realizes that it is the poor and middle class, certainly not Mitt Romney's or Jamie Dimon's children, who will be doing the fighting.