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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Book of Matthew: Go ahead, raise my taxes

Published: May 2, 2008
Section: Opinions

Perhaps my title shocked you. I admit, normally, I would not be calling for the government to do something like this. Normally, I would love for everyone to have low taxes. However, we are not facing normal circumstances.

Whether you like it or not, the country needs money. The national debt is over $9 trillion. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could total $2.4 trillion over the next decade, perhaps more. The nation is teetering on the edge of recession. And through it all, we Americans have spent the last eight years enjoying a nice tax break.

Of course, lets be honest. It is an election year, and the last thing the government would ever dream of is raising taxes on us “ordinary people”. No, the debate currently going on between the parties is whether or not to raise taxes on the wealthy, the elite (ah, maybe I shouldn’t use that word).

Whether or not the government decides to charge rich people more money on April 15th, both parties have agreed that they want to give the middle class another tax cut. Apparently, its meant to stimulate our ailing economy, and it is wildly popular among politicians. This is not necessarily a good thing.

I know my argument is not a popular one, but I have to say that I find certain irony in the opposition. Everyone loves to say that they are “stimulating the economy” with the money that they save from lower taxes, but far fewer people care about the detrimental effects of war and debt.

For this, you may thank President Bush. Back in 2001, when it became clear that we were going to invade Afghanistan, Bush came up with a novel idea to drum up war support. He decided to offer the American people a war that would not raise their taxes, and would instead be financed by borrowed money. How could we refuse? It was like getting a free meal.

Do you see the pattern yet? There is a very good reason why, before us, no nation has ever cut taxes during wartime. There is just only so much debt that can be accrued before the economic damage becomes impossible to repair.

This leaves two solutions. The first is to end the war, which will not be easy. Unfortunately, since Americans have been largely spared the monetary costs of war, they have much less of a reason to call for its end. We are, at times, a lazy and selfish people.

Therefore, the only solution we have left available is the one in my title. The government must raise taxes, for everyone. The revenue that this will raise should at the very least make borrowing money less necessary. More importantly, when the American people begin to wonder why their taxes are so high, we will be able to give them a simple answer:

“President Bush’s war needs more of your money”

I have a feeling that letters to Congress calling for peace may increase in number.