Given the fact that congressional Republicans like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are now arguing that the cost of aiding the victims of Hurricane Irene should be offset by reductions in other parts of the federal budget, how do they justify their votes in favor of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without raising taxes to pay for the huge cost of the wars? In fact, Republicans like Rep. Cantor actually voted to cut taxes as the Bush administration sent hundreds of thousands of troops into those two war zones.
This was the first time in our nation’s history that we did not raise taxes when we sent significant numbers of brave young Americans into harm’s way. For example, in FY 1969, Lyndon Johnson’s last year in office, when we had 540,000 troops in Vietnam, the Democratic president and Democratic Congress actually balanced the federal budget. How? We had a war surtax.This article was originally published in Richmond Times Dispatch.