Sound Off: Should Wealthy Families Who Don't Serve Pay a 'War Tax'?

 A 1040 tax form sits next to a small bit of cash. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Valerie Halbert)
A 1040 tax form sits next to a small bit of cash. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Valerie Halbert)

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke just tossed a rhetorical grenade in the mix in hopes of attracting some media and voter attention.

O'Rourke proposed that taxpayers who earn over $200,000 a year should pay $1,000 in a new tax for each war embarked on by the United States. There's an exception, though: Households that include current members of the U.S. military or veterans would be exempt from the tax.

Where would this money go? O'Rourke suggests that the United States establish a Veterans Health Care Trust Fund to support men and women who serve in the taxed wars.

O'Rourke graduated from Ivy League school Columbia University and did not serve in the military, but he was a member of the House of Representatives armed services and veterans' affairs committees when he represented Texas' 16th congressional district.

There are many conflicting analyses of household income online, but a roughly ballpark estimate would put the number of households paying taxes on an income of $200K or more around 6.5 million. Without subtracting the exempt military families, that would create a fund of $6.5 billion per war. We could round down to $6 billion (just for discussion) and call that the O'Rourke investment for veteran services.

There's a lot to consider here. Should wealthy families who don't serve be asked to make a direct financial contribution to war? Would such a program make leaders less likely to engage in foreign military adventures? Also, should Congress adequately fund veteran services without the need for a special tax?

Let us know what you think and sound off!

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