Sharing the Burden of War and Taxes

TAX DAY is coming. For most Americans, it’s merely a reminder to get that paperwork done. But for many years, tax day reminded Americans that war means sacrifice.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush has often invoked a spirit of sacrifice and dedication to the greater good. Yet this call to sacrifice has not made it into the administration’s economic and tax policies.

In past wars, those who could most afford to pay did so. During World War II, marginal tax rates on the wealthy reached over 90 percent. During wars in Korea and Vietnam, and throughout the Cold War, the most fortunate among us contributed almost as heavily to the national effort, paying at marginal rates of over 50 percent. Economic sacrifices were shared.

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David M. Abromowitz

Senior Fellow