When you say “Veteran’s Day”…

I feel conflicted

Every Veteran’s Day weekend there are guilt-stricken Americans “supporting the troops” the only way they know how: defending our service members and their honorable mythic, stoic heroes of might and justice, who undergo herculean tasks under fire in the defense of liberty, truth, etc. from the verbal assaults of anyone who would suggest they are anything other than such.

They doth protest too much, methinks. Once upon a time, we were a nation unified. We bore the burden of war together, rationed meat, consumed less, grew victory gardens, paid exorbitant taxes enthusiastically, (during WWII, the top rate, on those making more than $200k, was 94%) gladly loaned our money to the government. We sent the best of ourselves, poor immigrants and Yale Elites (a la George HW Bush) alike to risk death shoulder to shoulder in order to defend classical ideals of honor and liberty. Whole industries were nationalized, profits were given up. Gladly. We were in it together. We were united.

Those days are gone. Americans, now, want the thrill, the identity that comes from being part of a team, but they don’t want the obligation. We want the wealth, safety and comfort that comes from being Americans, but we begrudge every second, every penny, that we are asked to contribute. We shudder at every additional unit of risk we might need to experience to preserve our honor. And yet, we ask these kids from the working class to give up their legs,their arms and their lives. We orphan their children, widow their wives. For what, exactly?

Well, you’re fighting over there so we don’t have to fight here.

Wait. What? You’re feeding these American kids into the maw of the leviathan so that you can live in comfort and safety within the confines of our continent-sized green zone? That’s what you think we’re doing?

That’s not what I mean.

I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what you meant.

Like many other tasks elites no longer want to be bothered with, we have outsourced the business of organized violence to those with not many other good options. And we have made it easy. Far too easy. What has war cost you, the average taxpayer? What have you given up? Do you even remember that we’re still at war? Do you know what we’re fighting for? Something about 9/11? Al Qaeda hasn’t been in Afghanistan for a very long time now.

The most galling thing about these past few years hasn’t been that veterans aren’t honored enough. Oh, yes, my fellow citizens from both sides of the political aisle wave their little flags frantically and scream their praises for us, the honored. That block has been quite thoroughly checked. The galling thing has been that when someone asked them to give a few pennies on the dollar more to the America that they purportedly love, the America that has allowed them their six-digit salary, when someone asked them to help achieve “truth, justice, the American way” those soldiers’ sacrifice purportedly enables, they grasped their dollars all the tighter and started talking about how leeches want to take what’s theirs.

My friend’s life? That was his too. And he gave it to America. For honor. The honor they fritter away with their defense of torture. For some poorly-defined strategic objective, for a war that made a lot of people rich and got a lot of people elected, but didn’t really make us any safer. He gave it to America without asking what he’d get in return. But you, with your yellow ribbon bumper sticker, you can’t be bothered to pay even half of what the Greatest Generation paid with gusto. We are ungrateful and self-justified and selfish and craven, and all the hagiography of the few who are slightly less-selfish and slightly more courageous doesn’t change what we’ve become.

We have forgotten where we come from.

About Paul Loebe
  • GoddessOfCarbs

    You make excellent points. During WWII there was a propaganda poster that urged citizens to conserve oil which said something like, “If you ride alone, you ride with Hitler.” After the 9/11 attacks, we should have seen similar pieces, but with Osama bin Laden, in order to hammer home to people that there were things that the non-military population could have done to support the military’s mission. Drastically reducing our dependence on the Middle East’s oil supply would probably have done more to solve our international woes than waging war. However, we were merely urged to shop. Sigh. Thank you for bringing this subject up.

    My only issue is that you wrote “widow their wives”, when we sadly have soldiers of both genders dying abroad. “Spouses” would be more appropriate and respectful to all soldiers. Thank you. http://www.cmrlink.org/content/home/35891/grim_toll_of_military_women_killed_in_war

    • larry longmore

      After 9/11 Bill Maher published a book of WWII posters updated for now. The cover was the poster you recall with the image of Bin Laden in place of Hitler. The title was “When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden”. He was roundly condemned by exactly the people Paul calls out in this piece.

  • Locke

    “The galling thing has been that when someone asked them to give a few pennies on the dollar more to the America that they purportedly love” I liked this article up till this point. It reinforces the idea that paying more tax is somehow noble. As if a penny spent on taxes is better than a penny spent in industry or charity. Bullcrap. The reason people don’t want to spend more on “America” (which this author wrongfully conflates with the American government) isn’t because they’re greedy, it’s because taxation is wasteful, stupid, and at its best, legalized theft. I look at it the other way. People say the military fights for our “liberties” but then chooses to vote the country out of our liberties as quickly as possible. Money spent in the private sector is a far bigger boon to the real America than taxation ever will be.

    • Paul Loebe

      The rich that profited handsomely from war should pay higher taxes. When nearly 80% of the population are near the poverty level and the rich are exponentially richer than ever you better have some facts to back up your pseudo-intellectual statement.

      • Paul Loebe

        This was also the first war ever where taxes were cut instead of increased. EVER.

      • Locke

        Right, so the rich, who are already soaked to begin with (http://www.johnlocke.org/newsletters/research/2012-10-15-rimhsq0uuut834tlalrq344np3-fiscal-insight.html) , need to pay more into an ever-bloated federal government that continues to piss our money down a well to… what? Help the “99 percent”? The people that people like you condemn to a life of dependency by ensuring no economic mobility because you destroy the industries they could work for? The people who will be dependent on the government from cradle to grave? Money that is not forcibly taken from the people gets spent on real growth. The government inhibits growth. The rich, as much as you like to vilify them, do more for the poor than the government ever will by founding businesses, increasing productivity, and creating jobs. When we destroy the incentive to do these things, then they will stop doing them. Progressivism is responsible for this permanent underclass, not capitalism.

        • larry longmore

          “Progressivism is responsible for this permanent underclass, not capitalism.”

          Explain that to the folks of Victorian England or the Gilded Age in the US who seemed to suffer greatly from lesse-fare capitalism and accompanying poverty without the east little bit of progressive interference. It wasn’t until progressives got involved that poverty was reduced. Your major premise is faulty, you deduction is clearly wrong therefore your conclusion is completely incorrect.Reply

          Share › “

          • UWIR

            First of all, it’s “lassez faire”. Second, it’s really absurd how the Gilded Age, a time of massive government corruption, is presented as somehow being an indictment of the free market.

          • Dorfl

            First of all, it’s “lassez faire”.

            It’s actually laissez-faire.

    • larry longmore

      I’m gonna bet you passed on the opportunity to serve. I imagine you think yourself too important to lend a hand on anything that does not return more to you than it cost you. You have the perfect mindset for the America of today. “Me first, to hell with you.”. You have no understanding of what was written nor how pulling together made the country stronger while you and your self-centered blindness makes us all weaker.

      • Locke

        And there’s where you are wrong. I signed up for Marine Corps infantry. I went to Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan in 2004. I joined the Corps because I believed in the Constitution of the United States. I believed in the nation that was started by men who believed in individual liberty, and I’m pissed off that my countrymen are willing to piss it away for free shit and a tyrannical president.

        • Locke

          And I have no problem with charity. Taxes are not charity, however. If you think the Federal government has the best means of helping people, well we differ on a fundamental level that I really don’t have time to get in to.

          • Locke

            But no, since I’m a laissez-faire capitalist, I am an evil bastard who wants to see people starve on the street, according to people like you. This is the problem. I know the progs have good intentions, but they’re wrong. I want to see poor people succeed and the best way to do that, in my opinion, is through free market capitalism. The founders understood that, and it’s one of the things that made this nation a place where our poor are obese, as opposed to starving to death. The further we go down this collectivist rabbit hole the worse things get.

          • Paul Loebe

            The funny thing is that during the progressive reign in America more people were successful and income disparity was at its lowest point ever.

          • Locke

            You mean now?

          • Locke

            This isn’t a “progressive reign”?

          • larry longmore

            The the blind sow found an acorn!!! Yes you are right, this is not a progressive reign. But you are too ignorant of US history to understand that.

          • Paul Loebe

            It’s a corporatist reign.

          • Locke

            Exactly, it’s corporatist reign. Corporations are empowered by government. It’s exactly why lobbyists are in Washington DC. Without the government bailouts, subsidies, and regulations against their competitors, this wouldn’t be corporatism. We are a LONG way from laissez-faire capitalism, and have been for a long time

          • Locke

            So what is a progressive reign? Venezuela? How are things working out over there?

          • Paul Loebe

            Whoa! That’s a giant leap.

            Do you even realize the history of corporations? They used to have 10 year leases given by the government. In order to become a corporation they had to PROVE they were helping the common good.

            That disappeared and now we have corporatism. This has nothing to do with the government having too much interference. It has to do with too little.

          • larry longmore

            Progressiveness is at its ebb currently. The great era of progressive policy was from 1936 to 1976. That also coincides with the greatest reduction in poverty and the highest standard of living for the most people ever. Since the Reagan ‘revolution’ those gains have been wiped out but backward thinking Gilded age billionaires and the dupes who swallow Randism whole

          • Paul Loebe

            ^ That’s what I was getting at ^

          • Locke

            *citation needed*

        • Paul Loebe

          Funny thing. Production is higher than ever before and we have more people poor than ever before. Wages continue to lower because they are not tied to the actual cost of living. You have absolutely nothing backing up your statements.

          • Locke

            Do you? Are you aware that there’s this thing called inflation that causes the cost of living to increase?

          • Paul Loebe

            Yes, that’s what I was referring to.

          • Locke

            And that this inflation is directly tied to the massive amount of debt that this country is in? Which is tied to the vastly wasteful spending that the government has propagated on us?

          • Paul Loebe

            It’s directly tied to the printing of money.

            Using those higher taxes to pay off the debt would lower inflation according to what you propose. So: Higher taxes = lower inflation = more value of the dollar = less poor people.

          • Locke

            How about cutting spending?

          • Paul Loebe
          • Paul Loebe

            Revenue isn’t evil. And you have to tax where the money is.

          • Locke

            I’ve run out of energy for this debate, so I’m just going to refer you to someone more eloquent on the matter than I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNc-xhH8kkk

          • Paul Loebe

            Friedman was a hack. His trickle down economics clearly didn’t work. His policies are broken.

          • Locke

            He understood economics, which is more than I can say about Paul Krugman.

          • Paul Loebe

            No he didn’t. Reagan followed his policies to the T and that’s when the debt began to skyrocket. Clinton followed suit….and then don’t get me started on Bush or Obama.

          • Locke

            I don’t understand how following Friedman’s policies to the T can result in a skyrocketing debt, since his policies involved limited spending by the government.

            But I have to go now, I suppose we’ll agree to disagree. Arguing politics is difficult because in the end much of it boils down to a fundamental axiomatic philosophy. In this way arguing politics is much like arguing religion (and as the foxhole atheist banner on your site suggests, this is something we actually agree about). Take it easy.

          • Paul Loebe

            I’d like to continue this again. At least we are being cordial.

          • Locke

            Indeed. Just because we disagree doesn’t mean we have to make things personal. Happy Veterans Day Paul

          • Paul Loebe

            Happy Veteran’s Day to you as well! Thanks for serving.

          • Locke

            They didn’t work because they weren’t implemented. Watch the video and he addresses the points that you made. It’s much faster than having me type them out.

          • http://seanhuze.com/ Sean Huze

            I cannot stand Friedman… I debated one of his disciples once on YouTube. His followers deify him to the point that it is impossible to have an honest debate with them. It is akin to the fundamentalist, literal interpretation, Bible thumpers insisting that the world is maybe 10,000 years old or so. One initially replies with facts and science thinking they have enlightened another human being and feel all warm and gooey inside for a brief moment before it is shattered with the zealot’s insistence that science and math almost as basic as 2+2=4 is wrong and a revised, translated, redacted, expanded, edited, redacted again, etc., has the real answers no matter how much they fly in the face of logic. There is no winning with them as they are too far gone to accept truth.

          • Danny Getchell

            Sigh.

            First, go to the IRS website.

            Look at the data about how many people are in the top 1%, and how much they make in the aggregate. (If you think the IRS data is being tweaked by Ted Cruz or the Koch brothers, I can’t help ya.)

            Then figure out how much of their income you need to confiscate in order to generate the $1 trillion it would take to balance our budget.

            Come back and show me your figures. I’ll be happy to discuss them with you.

          • Paul Loebe

            Sigh. You tax where the money is. Sigh. Common sense.

            I’ve done more than enough extensive research.

          • Danny Getchell

            Where the money is, is the middle and upper middle class.

          • Locke

            Killazontherun|10.25.13 @ 1:34PM|#

            For a mere hefty chunk of my paycheck I can pay a privileged class of people to sit on their asses and not contribute any creative, productive work to the world and go home at the end of the day enjoying the wealth and luxuries of this nation just as I do. I can enjoy the outcomes of an intelligence community, not only have they stirred up the hornets nest of primitives roaming the Middle East preying on those who rose above their tribal origins, but they have also branched out into pissing off the leadership of Europe and Latin America, and engaging in such acts of war as snooping on the calls and internet activities of millions of those nation’s citizens (but that is what they are suppose to do! Right? Agitate populations, get trade deals squashed, fuel resentments to the breaking point, unite effected parties to turn on us and form coalitions towards our exclusion, uh yeah, what could go wrong?)! Also, I get the benefit of see the lifestyles of the poor turned through policies that promote dependency on unearned wealth turned into an impoverished freak show. A fucking bargain if there ever was one. Why would anyone ever complain about taxes.

          • Paul Loebe

            What? I’m really confused by what you just wrote.

            This whole notion that the poor are lazy is so far from the truth. When someone works full-time and can barely pay their bills that isn’t lazy. That’s a skewed system.

        • larry longmore

          Ah, you are a moron, that explains it. When you can explain exactly how the President is being tyrannical Maybe I’ll listen but until then you are an ignorant pustule steeped in the propaganda of the day.

          As a Marine you must have learned that a team can accomplish more than an individual but seem to be incapable of applying that lesson on a broader scale.

          • Paul Loebe

            Teamwork^

            We are in it together. Those who have need to help the rest of the country because the rest of the country helps put them in that position.

          • Locke

            A team that is motivated can accomplish more than an individual. A citizenry with a boot on its neck does not. Tyrannical? Well, I can point to the IRS Scandal, the NSA…. etc

        • http://seanhuze.com/ Sean Huze

          Locke, I too am a Marine. I enlisted in September 2001 with an infantry option that I insisted on getting in my contract upfront (should’ve insisted on the same about being stationed in Camp Pendleton but actually fell for this line “the Corps is not going to station a guy from Los Angeles all the way across the country… 29 Palms would be the worst… now sign right here… ” :) Like you, I went to Iraq in 2003. In retrospect it is painfully obvious W sent us there for reasons other than why I joined.

          I enlisted because some assholes crashed planes into buildings and I didn’t want to sit on my ass passively flipping channels between Fox, CNN, and MSNBC until I could settle on which was giving the best coverage for me to kick back in a Lazy-Boy, drink a few beers, pop a war-boner, and live vicariously through others. I fucking hate those douchebags and refused to join their ranks when I could join the Marines… (sidebar: I especially hate the ones who think that because they waste their miserable excuses for lives playing Call of Duty they “could be Marine infantry easy… or an Army Ranger… Yeah no problem… if I didn’t have other important “stuff” to deal with I would probably be a Navy SEAL…”) Not only did Iraq have nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on 9/11, they didn’t have WMDs either. That’s why the tattoo on my chest will always be W’s legacy. It’s why a quorum of nearly 250 leading historians selected across political spectrum to offset natural bias, rank him #5 in the Top 5 Worst US Presidents. There was national unity and support from the entire international community including the Arab League. Bush was poised for greatness. We could have led an international coalition to eradicate terrorism. Instead he decided to join the circle jerk with Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rove, and Rumsfeld to use our nation’s single biggest tragedy, our collective grief, and our patriotism and national unity to invade Iraq.

          It was manipulative and squandered the good will of half the country and the international community. I’m surprised he’s not further up the list for that. Some things he did I actually agreed with but that was such a bad fuck up that it permanently casts its shadow over everything else. Even if the rest of his decisions were perfect (they weren’t), Iraq was a mistake the size of a giant black hole. The light of a thousand suns aren’t enough to illuminate that darkness, instead becoming consumed by it. That’s how big of a fuck up W is. And the majority of America knew he was a fuck up which is why he lost the popular vote in 2000 (and we’ll never know who truly won the Electoral Votes thanks to one of two modern Supreme Court decisions that rival the Dred Scott Decision in infamy (Citizens United is the other).

          Bush v. Gore – 531 U.S. 98 (2000) ruled there was not enough time to conduct a recount before the law required the results to be certified. Kathleen Harris (Jeb Bush appointee) immediately resubmitted her certified results effectively awarding the presidency to a man who undisputedly lost the popular vote and possibly the electoral vote which hinged on Florida the state where his brother was governor and Bush cronies acted swiftly to stack the deck. But the thing that really ticks off legal scholars of both conservative and liberal schools of thought are these two facts: 1) The Supreme Court halted the Florida recount of ballots. Had it not done so, the recount would have been done in time and we would know which of the two men won the state. So the Court basically ruled against Gore because they couldn’t finish in time after ordering them days earlier to stop. Talk about a WTF? moment.
          2) Rehnquist and O’Connor had undisputed conflicts of interest and should have recused themselves from that case according to conservative and liberal legal scholars; Thomas and Scalia also had issues and the consensus is that they probably should have recused themselves but it was not paramount like Rehnquist and O’Connor (Thomas’ wife worked for Bush campaign; Scalia’s son was an attorney employed by the law firm hired by Bush to present their case in front of his daddy).

          So if you really do believe in the Constitution, I would suggest referring to it specifically or to SCOTUS decisions or fucking anything specific to support your position instead of professing your faith and belief in “men who believed in individual liberty.” What a fucking joke. The vast majority of these men were deeply bigoted and slave owners outnumbered non-slave owners 2 to 1. How has Obama specifally violated the Constitution as it exists today? Or are you just like our 14 slave owning founding fathers and your problem with President Obama, or if you prefer, Commander in Chief Obama simply his skin color? Because I welcome the Constitutional debate, Devil Dog, but if you start using WND and stormfront as sources I’m just going to shake my head that I got suckered by some internet troll into thinking he may actually be Marine Corps infantry like I am (FYI I’m not anonymous and my service is easily verifiable).

          No rubbing one out looking at my sexy nip either, bro! LOL

          Semper Fidelis and Happy Belated Birthday.

          • Locke

            You are writing this comment as if I am an apologist for the Bush administration, which I am not. Bush was as statist and corrupt as Obama is. What I am saying is that the two are more alike than the public thinks. Also, your “you hate Obama because he’s black” thing is as old and tired as the Bush-bashing. Look, Bush was a bad president. So is Obama. Both ass-fucked the Constitution. How? Well, war powers, both are guilty. Obama “the peace-bringer” has successfully sent drones into foreign territories to kill suspected terrorist leaders without oversight or authority. They both have violated the Fifth and Fourth amendments by presiding over the Homeland Security, TSA, and NSA debacles. Obama is threatening the First by using the IRS to intimidate political opponents… not to mention both (and the government in general for many, many years) have sought to empower the federal government by continuously re-interpreting the Constitution out of existence.

            Many of the founders and patriots owned slaves, but many also did not and were opposed to it. I’m not saying they are gods and that they were perfect, far from it. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater and say that because they owned slaves, then classical liberalism is by default wrong and evil. In fact, liberalism (the real kind, not the fake prog/socialist kind) was then expanded on and was used to argue FOR the rights of women and minorities. The founder’s views on liberty were accurate, but they were incomplete. I think Frederick Douglass can put this quite eloquently:

            1893 March. (Frederick Douglass, Address to the Indian Industrial School). “Mr. Jefferson, among other statesmen and philosophers, while he considered slavery an evil, entertained a rather low estimate of the negro’s mental ability. He thought that the negro might become learned in music and in language, but that mathematics were quite out of the question with him…The reply of Mr. Jefferson is the highest praise [on Benjamin Banneker] I wish to bestow upon this black self-made man…Jefferson was not ashamed to call the black man his brother and to address him as a gentleman.”[14]

            1872 July 24. (Frederick Douglass, Address in Richmond). “It was, Virginia, your own Thomas Jefferson that taught me that all men are created equal.”[12]

            It’s funny how that works. Socialists point out the slave-owning pasts of classical liberals, but if you try to point out the atrocities committed by socialist governments, they’ll just tell you “Oh well, that was just socialism done wrong”. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

            Aristotle was dead wrong about physics, but it doesn’t mean he was wrong about everything.

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

    Ah, no greater fury than a capitalist ass unkissed. That’s a pretty low blow man, asking people to actually write checks to support veterans. they wave flags paul.

    they.

    wave.

    flags.

    What more can you ask?

    • Paul Loebe

      Nice try. The rich haven’t sacrificed dick during this war. The rest of the country hasn’t really been affected. There is a disconnect. If companies had been nationalized and taxes had been raised maybe people would actually have done something to stop it.

      • http://seanhuze.com/ Sean Huze

        Who do you think you are responding to, because it’s probably not him. His post said nothing about the rich sacrificing and made a fucking hilarious reference to the types of fat body civilians who make us sick. It was great.

        • Paul Loebe

          Sean, you are fucking awesome!

      • buffalo

        If everyone’s kids had to go and fight, that may have cooled things off a little too.

    • http://seanhuze.com/ Sean Huze

      “They… wave… flags.” Dude, that was fucking awesome! Not easy to make me laugh on Memorial Day or Veterans Day but you succeeded and I thank you, sir! S/F

    • UWIR

      Would higher taxes mean more support for veterans?

  • Locke
  • http://seanhuze.com/ Sean Huze

    I agree with much of what is posted here. 94% is a bit high, though! However, dealing with state and federal tax codes that are full of shelters, loopholes, deductions, lower rates for capital gains income (passive income like dividends, interest, etc.) than regular income (earned from working), and many more clauses that benefit the very wealthy (not rich but wealthy; google Chris Rock “difference between rich and wealthy” if you don’t know) with an emphasis on protecting “old money” as opposed to the “nouveau riche” although the latter likely is generating revenue and creating jobs while the former looks down their nose at him/her and hordes; you would practically have to start at 94% to get them to pay 20-25% when it is all said and done. This is how Mitt “Magic Underwear” Romney paid an effective 0% tax rate one year and averaged below 15% for the past several years. Because I should be paying a higher percentage of my income than Mitt Romney pays of his in taxes… Obviously if either of us can afford it, it must be me. 1) It’s true, 2) It’s timely 3) Perfect example so peeps can have another face to go with the above scenario of escaping tax responsibility; at least he has a job that’s as difficult as those fighting in Afghanistan (tongue placed firmly in cheek… Gonna let my first ever meme creation speak for me on that issue. John Goodman’s got this!

    1) Tom Cruise is mega-rich and with help from the Church of Scientology, he is able to avoid tax liability by donating to the Church which qualifies as a “religion” who then turns around and provides lavish lifestyle for one of their “top space cadets” for a slice for themselves of course. More complicated but think that gives you the gist of it. Bullshit on so many levels. First of all Mr. Cruise’s delusional ego aside (I’ve done both jobs and without a doubt, working with Tommy Lee Jones, Matt Damon, Elizabeth Banks, and Russell Crowe as an actor in some really amazing films [SEAN INSERTS SHAMELESS PLUG HERE: #GreenZone, #IntheValleyofElah, and #NextThreeDays] does not compare to invading Iraq as a Marine with 2nd LAR 10 years ago. Just a dumb-fuck thing to say. Two, donating your money to an organization that is going to spend most of your money on you is not a true “donation.” Tom and Scientology not the only ones who do this, but he was the only one who was in the news cycle yesterday comparing himself to us. But it really isn’t a personal thing against Tom. We are a country that has clearly stated that there is a separation of church and state though legislation and judicial decisions. So it seems to me that any funds raised/earned by ALL churches that are not spent directly on related charitable services, positive community outreach, and other works WITHOUT proselytizing should be taxed. Let them pay taxes on all other revenue as though it was income BECAUSE IT IS! I don’t want to subsidize Reverend Phelps and his merry band of fucktards’ next “God Hates Fags” bullshit protest. It makes me sick and NFW I should be responsible for them having poster-board and marks-a-lot permanent markers. NFW

    Semper Fidelis

    • jjramsey

      94% is a bit high, though!

      Remember that’s a marginal tax rate. It’s not as if all one’s income is being taxed at 94%, only the portion that takes one’s income beyond a certain amount.

      • buffalo

        …and there were a lot more loopholes then. Nelson Rockefeller used to pay ZERO taxes annually in spite of the fact that he was one of the richest men in the world.

  • jjramsey

    Once upon a time, we were a nation unified. We bore the burden of war
    together, rationed meat, consumed less, grew victory gardens, paid
    exorbitant taxes enthusiastically, (during WWII, the top rate, on those
    making more than $200k, was 94%) gladly loaned our money to the
    government. We sent the best of ourselves, poor immigrants and Yale
    Elites (a la George HW Bush) alike to risk death shoulder to shoulder in
    order to defend classical ideals of honor and liberty. Whole industries
    were nationalized, profits were given up. Gladly. We were in it
    together. We were united.

    From what I can recall from history, the World Wars are outliers when it comes to homefront participation in the war effort, largely due to their scale and high stakes. I haven’t heard, for example, of Americans doing meatless Tuesdays for the sake of, say, the Spanish-American War. In WWII, oil was being conserved in the short term so that the military could use it in that very same term. There’s not really an analogous situation in today’s conflicts. Heck, these days, there’s not even much point in having bonds specifically for war spending because the U.S. sells bonds as a part of day-to-day operations due to the deficit spending that has now become a normal thing (partly because “deficits don’t matter”) instead of something reserved for times of war or an economic downturn like the Great Depression.

  • Ellen Polzien

    I’d suggest that a big reason why Americans are not willing to be personally inconvenienced, financially or otherwise, by war is that the last few wars have not been responses to direct, organized attacks/invasions by other countries, but rather geopolitical gamesmanship. It’s easier to pull together as a country when there’s a sense that our sovereignty and way of life are being attacked –not when the object of the conflict seems to be deciding which billionaires own what’s left of the oil supply, or Halliburton improving its profits.

  • Alice

    I wouldn’t mind paying higher taxes if the government knew ANYTHING about managing money well.

  • buffalo

    What we really owe veterans is honesty.
    I am all for shared financial support of a war effort and anything those people need upon their return to recover and reintegrate should be handled by us.
    The larger issue I think is to be honest with them and indeed all of our citizens about why we get wrapped up in those conflicts in the first place.
    I am not willing to give a blank check or risk lives on the word of government officials and propagandists within the press. The rational for fighting in Iraq has been stepped back and reconfigured a half dozen times by now. I know guys that went to Viet Nam who are very skeptical of the reasons given to them for the hell they endured. The propaganda trotted out to goad us into participation in the first world war was shameless (read Posonby’s Falsehoods in Wartime) and many of the same falsehoods were re-introduced to rile us into the second World War,( in this case honesty may have been enough). I could go on with examples and I don’t want to diminish the courage it must take to be an actual participant in armed conflict, but such courage should never be used without a full and thoughtful discussion of the facts and possible consequences and complete honesty with those asked to sacrifice.

  • Ryan Roberts

    What about an end to war? That will help save money. It would also, maybe, possibly, just be a better reason to remember those who died. Isn’t the eventual idealistic aim to end war, not to put more money into it? Also the USA spends more on “defense” than anyone else. So as y’all gonna be so gung’ ho and start some wars then in the short term maybe a little less on R&D and a little more on body armour?


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