$80 billion here, $80 billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money

Quietly, in the pleasant afterglow of the inaugural bacchanalia, the White House sent Congress its latest request for an additional $80 billion for ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, not in that order of course.
This brings the acknolwedged cost of the Iraq fiasco (Afghanistan represents a small fraction of what we spend on Iraq– so small as actually not really effecting the number) to around $280 billion… and counting, most of which will make their way into private hands so that the appropriate kickbacks can be paid, etc.
Nancy Pelosi, continuing to be the poster child for what is wrong with Democrats, says “well, of course we can’t shortchange the troops; we’ll give them whatever money they need…”
The money appropriated is largely for private contractors charging the government 10 to 20 times the actual value of their services so there is plenty of cash to slosh around in Republican coffers. War is the health of the Republican praetorian state.
The only answer is: Mr. President, our creditors won’t lend us any more money if we keep spending like this. Either we raise this money through current taxes (i.e. TAX INCREASES) or we won’t appropriate a dime of it (and back it up with fillibusters). After the body and vehicle armor flak-jacket flap, it should be obvious to all that this money is not about “supporting our troops” any more than the war was about “bringing democracy to Iraq”.
Which segues into my point. The Dems are in a position to outmaneuver Bush on taxes– but they have to NOT PANDER by trying to buy voters with special tax breaks (the classic Republican lobbyists’ game). What Dems should propose is actually something the Republicans TALK ABOUT, but don’t do.` That, of course, is a more or less flat tax– of whatever percentage of GDP federal spending represents (now 22%, IIRC).
Simple. I’d propose four brackets (the lowest being… zero, the top being 27%). We exempt the first ten or fifteen thousand dollars entirely, tax the next fifty thousand dollars at fifteen per cent, tax the next hundred thousand dollars at– you got it– twenty-two per cent, and tax everything over that at twenty-seven per cent (top rate one point lower than St. Ron’s Tax Reform of 1986). Oh– all income is taxed at these rates– ALL INCOME– whether wages, business income by corporation or partnership, inheritance (WHICH IS INCOME TO THE RECIPIENT– and income the recipient didn’t EARN at that), interest, dividends, or capital gains…. ALL INCOME. Once and for all– our tax system is about raising revenue– not social policy. Hence– NO DEDUCTIONS– not for state and local taxes, not for oil or race horse depreciation, not for mortgage interest or anything. Simple, easy. Business income will have the usual complications (how to depreciate long term assets and so forth), but those problems can be solved.
This proposal is simple, its fair, these taxes WOULD INCLUDE PAYROLL TAXES now taxed in addition to income tax, and best of all, these taxes would force BUSH to explain and justify why wages that people need to eat and pay their rent should be taxed, while inheritances, money that isn’t earned and falls out of the sku, shouldn’t be (along with interest, dividends, capital gains, etc.) Because we can LOWER THE RATES, we can afford to simplify and do away with deductions. It’s fair: most people would probably pay around the same or less in federal taxes (remember– my rates INCLUDE PAYROLL TAX.)
Democrats: its there. We can tie it to the war. We can beat Bush over the head with this. DO IT. TAKE YOUR HEADS OUT OF YOUR ASSES!!!