War Spending Strategy: Soak the Grandkids

War without taxes defies all of US history. Why are we allowing it?
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2008 11:47 AM CDT
U.S. President George W. Bush looks on during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in Meseberg, north of Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, June 11, 2008.    (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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(Newser) – As Congress tackles the latest "emergency" spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total to more than $860 billion, Ruth Marcus notes in the Washington Post: "For the first time in American history, every penny of that amount will have been borrowed. For the first time, billions more will have been borrowed to finance tax cuts in the midst of war."

Marcus asks tax historians what factors led to this reversal of one of the fundamental assumptions of American politics: shared sacrifice in wartime. They cite the end of the draft, and the fact that a globalized economy and a more skillful Fed have reduced the fear of inflation that fueled previous wartime tax hikes. But she argues that the biggest factor the is transformation of the GOP since Nixon: "This is the first extended war fought under the banner of supply-side economics."