I heard a wonderful idea on the radio the other day. It had to do with the disconnection of American civilians from the Iraq war. In the past, wars would touch the lives of all, at least within one degree. In the World Wars, every ounce of energy went into war production. So many men were drafted and rationing meant everyone contributed. During the Vietnam War, the draft kept all men potentially involved and no one was far removed from the conflict. With the current Iraq War, there are so few involved, all are volunteers (technically), and the most the vast majority of us ever feel is a passing feeling when we hear of yet another few soldiers dead. It has cost so many lives and over 400 billion dollars so far since September of 2001, and it will continue on for many more years.
Currently, the very idea of the draft being activated is practically nonsensical. So what, then, to do about this problem? A thought a brilliant solution was presented by a guest on NPR’s All Things Considered the other day. I was in my car and only caught the middle of the interview, which saddens me, because I do prefer to give credit where it is due. So, what should be done to cover the costs and make the citizenry participate in their country’s affairs? The suggestion I loved was this: a two dollar War Gas Tax.
The very mention of such a thing hit me like a ton of bricks! What a swift way to directly touch peoples’ lives with the war, help pay for the war, and get them reevaluating if it’s a war they don’t want. I was more than happy to pay double for a tank of gas, then get pissed off and start sending letters to my congressmen. When people are forced to contribute that much of their livelihood, they then question, does my life hang in the balance? If I do not contribute, will my life end due to enemy invasion? Am I saving my friend’s or countryman’s life by doubling my costs for living? Are we stopping the conquest of half the world by evil, or are we stopping nationalists from freeing their country and brethren?
Within days of hearing this great idea, whenever I would flip past news channels on television, any and all government members, executive and legislative alike, were reiterating the fact that they will not be increasing taxes. Now, this strikes another chord with me: How do we justify not raising taxes when our spending increases every single year? While this is a subject for another entry for sure, it still warrants mentioning.
This concept of government spending has always boggled my mind, as it has anyone I have ever spoken to. If any of us individuals attempted to do what the government does, spending more money than it could possibly earn, we would have been swiftly referred to a “Big, Surly Man with a Bat” collection agency. We cannot continue to subsist without working toward digging ourselves out of debt. We are setting ourselves up for utter economic devastation, and when the US government has to file for bankruptcy, who will they be filing to?
For the record, the President’s spending for the Iraq War hasn’t gone through any standard budget methods. Namely for the reason of avoiding being turned down for the amount of money that his administration wants/needs to spend to perpetuate the war. Since September 11th and the creation of the ‘War on Terror’, funding for this so-called war has not been a part of the standard budget, but been acquired through emergency channels. To continue a war we didn’t (and still don’t) need and stretching our very defenses to the point of being useless to actually fend off an attack, the President is spending our emergency credit.
We have spent money and credit reserved for when something horrendous happens in order to invade a land that had no capability of harming us, or even our allies. (Israel, as it is armed by the United States, has more firepower than the rest of the Middle East combined.) It’s like we’ve used our emergency credit card to rent a car and drive to a Get Rich Quick Scheme seminar. The only people who do that are truly foolish and thoughtless. Of course, that’s a rather obvious truth, one which seems to be a regularly presented recurrence.
I’m sorry, that’s been quite a bit of rambling ranting. I’ve been writing this over many days, whenever I have half a thought. And as usual, several half-thoughts still don’t add up to being a complete one. But, as this is just a venue for such thoughts, they are appropriate. Good luck trying to comprehend, and feel free to chime in as you, my throngs of readers (both of you), wish.