Democrats Divide on War Tax

Nov 25, 2009 2:18pm

ABC News’ David Chalian Reports:  Powerful Democratic committee chairmen in the House and the Senate have started calling for a war tax surcharge to help pay for the anticipated troops surge in Afghanistan President Obama is set to announce on Tuesday. Despite those efforts, the idea of “war tax” is one that is not likely going anywhere fast.  It would have little, if any, Republican support and it also appears clear that moderate and centrist Democrats would also refuse to sign on with it. “At this point I would suggest not pursuing some kind of war tax,” said Andy Johnson, who serves as the national security program director for the centrist Democratic think tank “Third Way.”  “I think it’s mostly for posturing purposes, there is a concern that you know, there’s not sort of shared pain with respect to our involvement in Afghanistan but the bottom line is this:  We need to protect American and whether it’s done through deficit spending or whether it’s done through offset spending the first order of business is to get in place a strategy that will provide stability and security,” Johnson told us on ABC News’ “Top Line” today. “I think the war tax is a political not a realistic solution,” continued Johnson.  “A non-starter.” It’s not just the cost that will prove challenging for President Obama to sell to a skeptical public.  As the poll numbers reflect, there is little appetite among the American people for nation building in Afghanistan, a point not lost on Democrats. “Look, the objective here is a military objective. It’s one of national security and protecting American lives, it’s not brining fair and open election or the sort of democratic reforms that we may want to see in Afghanistan but are unlikely to actually occur over the next few years,” said Johnson. “We need to have a reliable partner. It could very well be that corruption is going to be a matter of fact in Afghan governance and politics for years to come; we need to deal with that and keep our eyes on the prize. We’re not there to nation build, we’re there to protect the American people and we need to have lasting security  when we pull out and that doesn’t necessarily mean the sort of pristine democratic institutions that we are usually accustomed to,” he added. You can watch our entire interview with Third Way's Andy Johnson HERE:

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