Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Is Victory Over Terrorism Equivalent to a Flat Tax?

The Heritage Foundation thinks so.

We've already discussed the Heritage Foundation's 'study' which purported to show that "wealthier" Americans are serving in our military. While its author, Tim Kane Ph.D., is quite correct that a lot of political rhetoric describing our servicemembers is a stereotype that is not accurate, that argument does not support his conclusions. Most of our servicemembers joined in 2004 and earlier, when the recruiting environment was much better. Current trends are not hopeful. Money quotes:
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Rangel also argues that war is less likely under a draft because policymakers wouldn’t want to put their own loved ones in harm’s way.

Really? In the last 60 years, America has fought two wars (Korea and Vietnam) with conscription and two wars (the Gulf War and the Iraq War) without. There’s simply no substance to the argument that a draft keeps the peace, but it must be said that “draft wars” were fought with higher troop levels -- and higher casualties. [OYE Comment: Yes, and America hasn't changed a bit in 60 years.]
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But even if all the fictional claims about a draft were true, the philosophical problem remains: Coercing service harms individual liberty.

Watch for Rangel and his colleagues when they spin around the firestorm over this issue by reframing the project as “national service.” That, too, would be inauthentic, coerced volunteerism.

Americans will sometimes accept restrictions on their liberty, but only to advance the common good. Hence, speed limits and gas taxes. Empowering government to oversee and restrict the employment of all young Americans for two years isn’t consistent with common-good restrictions.

Incoming Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives have distanced themselves from Rangel’s draft idea, going so far as to say that the Ways and Means committee he will chair has no jurisdiction on the matter. But they miss the point. If Charlie Rangel is serious about making sure everyone “shares the sacrifice” equally, then he can call for a flat tax. Better yet, he can put a stop to special interest tax breaks and expenditures coming from his committee. He can advocate for higher military pay.

As for the draft, the president, Congress and new Democratic leadership need to repudiate the idea, as well as the notion of mandatory volunteerism. When you think about it, reaffirming individual liberty at home couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s what our troops are fighting for all around the world.

OYE Comment: OK, Tim Kane, Ph.D., what about national leadership? What about introducing the American people to real wealthy Americans (if any) who have volunteered for military service? We're still waiting.

Hat tip to Ana Susanj.


At 10 January, 2007 16:32, Blogger Scorpio said...

Perhaps the sacrifice can be shared by going back to the tax structure of WWII and the Eisenhower years -- more than 90% on everything over $400,000. In light of inflation, perhaps giving the rich a break and making it everything over a million would be a sweet gesture.


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