Time for a "war on terror" tax?

Lieberman floats the idea of raising taxes to pay for the war he's helping Bush wage in Iraq.

By Tim Grieve
Published February 6, 2007 9:59PM (EST)

George W. Bush loves to quote Joe Lieberman as some kind of evidence of bipartisan support for his war in Iraq. Well, at least he used to. While Lieberman still stands by his man on Iraq -- he voted with the GOP Monday to prevent consideration of the John Warner-Carl Levin anti-escalation resolution -- he hinted today that he might break with Bush on how the country should go about paying for the war.

As Reuters reports, Lieberman floated the idea today of a "war on terrorism" tax so that the money he's helping Bush spend on Iraq won't come out of social programs he'd like to protect.

"When you put together the (Pentagon) budget and the Homeland Security budgets, we need to ask people to help us in a way that they know when they pay more it will go for their security," Lieberman said. The Connecticut senator said such a tax would be a way to address complaints that war supporters haven't asked for a wartime sacrifice from anyone but "our military in this war and some civilians who are working on it."

No reaction from the White House yet, but we know what it's going to be. The president said last month that Americans are already feeling "somewhat down" about the war and that raising their taxes would just bum them out further. "I strongly oppose that," he told Jim Lehrer. "If that's the kind of sacrifice people are talking about, I'm not for it because raising taxes will hurt this growing economy. And one thing we want during this war on terror is for people to feel like their life's moving on, that they're able to make a living and send their kids to college and put more money on the table."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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