Letters to the Editor

War debt

August 28, 2012


To the editor:

What ever happened to old-fashioned patriotism?

The treaty that closed the Revolutionary War in 1782 provided that the English trading houses in America could collect their just debts from their debtors. The debt collectors’ details disclose that most of the great planters (100 slaves or more) were bankrupt, having financed the war.

In the War of 1812 and the Civil War, prominent citizens organized, financed and led regimental units into battle. During the Civil War, President Lincoln was advised, “Issue Treasury notes, bearing no interest, printed on the best banking paper and declare them legal tender and issue enough to pay off army expense.” The greenback dollar was born.

Some well-to-do wanted to do more. The Chicago Board of Trade Field Artillery was one example of many independent regiments and companies. The heavy debt of World War II was paid for, starting in 1946 with a 90 percent tax on the highest incomes. I can recall no great public outcry. People bought war bonds.

The Vietnam, Iraq and Afghan wars were financed by IOU’s by the ones who ordered the war. We are now faced with the task of retiring those greenback dollars. One choice seems to be to pass the burden onto the less fortunate. It seems they need to lower the level of living.


Paul R Getto 5 years, 9 months ago

If we lowered the level of dying that might help.

Ragingbear 5 years, 9 months ago

So the answer to the national debt is to bring back slavery? That is just morbidly obese.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 9 months ago

Rights and responsibilities are two sides of the same coin. You can't have one without the other. The more rights you have, with the expectation that the government will be there to ensure those rights, the greater amount of responsibility that will be expected from you. It's too bad you liken public service to slavery. It's supporting the very system that you demand so much from.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 9 months ago

There is little incentive to limit spending when you're using someone else's credit card. Huge deficits that will be paid by our children is no way to go.

tomatogrower 5 years, 9 months ago

All the more reasons to get rid of Bush's wartime tax cuts, so our generation will pay for this war. The deficit wouldn't be so big if they hadn't cut the taxes, then started a war. Oh wait, they did it the other way around. Bush wanted his war and his tax cuts too. The tax cuts that were suppose to boost the economy and create more revenue to make up the difference. Hmmm, how is that trickle down theory working for you?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, I'm certainly not one of those tax cuts for this group and raise taxes for some other group. I think we all should pay more, a lot more. When everyone pays more, a lot more, without a deficit, then we'll all decide what to spend our tax revenue on and what not to spend our tax revenue on. But, heck, I could spend someone else's money all day and all night.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 9 months ago

Imposing this debt on future generations is effectively taxation without representation. Is it not? Debt is the tax on future labor. Adults elected politicians that borrowed $50,000 against the liberty and future labor of every child. This is taxation without representation, tyranny.

Michael Doudoroff 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm glad someone has raised this issue. A couple of months ago I wrote to our senators and representatives pointing out that in WWII (which I am old enough to remember), the costs were honestly met with war taxes. I asked our people in Washington whether they would also be honest and vote to fund our (I am estimating 60% probability under Obama, 80% under Romney) pending war against Iran with a war tax. All of them replied with form letters about the importance of defending this or that friendly nation. Not one of them answered my question.

George Lippencott 5 years, 9 months ago

Debt is 15 trillion and wars by your numbers are 1.5 trillion. Social Security is still paying its own way and Obama Care costs have barely started. What did we do with the rest?

By the way tomato, I will be happy to pay for the wars over the next twenty years (generation) although I have been opposed to them since we blew Iraq in the early days. That amounts to $75 billion per year. If we all pay for it that amounts to a tax increase on all of the taxpayers of a little over $1000 per year used only to buy down the debt

Or did you have someone else in mind to stick with the bill. Mr. Obama's proposed tax increase on the rich would basically cover that cost but then it would not be available to use for anything else if we follow your logic.

That means that we must live with our current tax receipts (we are out of balance by close to a trillion a year right now and war cost are pretty much over) and at the end of twenty years we will only owe 13 plus trillion.

Could that be why some people are balking at more federal largess?

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