The return of war bonds?

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., has an idea for how to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

By Alex Koppelman
December 9, 2009 1:09AM (UTC)
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There's been some concern in Congressional Democratic circles recently about the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, especially since President Obama announced plans to send more troops to the former. That concern has led to talk of a new tax to help pay for the wars -- but the talk of higher taxes itself has led to other concerns.

In response to this, Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., has introduced new legislation that would create war bonds to fund the wars.

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"I believe that we need shared sacrifice and fiscal discipline in financing the war effort,” Nelson said in a statement. “I don't believe our first instinct should always be a rush to tax. The government has gone to great lengths to address the economic downturn and adding new taxes right now could undermine those efforts."

The problem with this logic is that bonds -- even war bonds -- aren't free money. At some point, those who invested expect to be paid back, and with interest. In order to accomplish that, the government has to use money it gets from... well, from tax dollars.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Afghanistan Ben Nelson D-neb. Iraq Iraq War Middle East