O'Rourke's defends his 'war tax' amid criticism

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke defended the "war tax" funding mechanism for his plan to help veterans on Monday.

"It means that before we go to war again, after we've ended the wars we're already in, we're gonna make sure we understand the full cost and consequence of going into those wars," O'Rourke told MSNBC's Garrett Haake.


"I want to make sure we've set aside a fund, a veteran's trust fund, that will pay for the care of those who have worn the battle in those wars... It make America pause before we enter that next war, because we'll fully realize the full cost of waging those wars."

O'Rourke's plan would create a fee that households without military members would have to pay.

The revenue from the war tax would go into a trust fund for veterans created at the beginning of each future war, according to his proposal.

Households making less than $30,000 per year would pay $25; those making less than $40,000 would pay $57; those making less than $50,000 would pay $98; those making less than $75,000 would pay $164; those making less than $100,000 would pay $270; those making less than $200,000 would pay $485; and those making more than $200,000 would pay $1,000. 

"This new tax would serve as a reminder of the incredible sacrifice made by those who serve and their families," O'Rourke's plan reads.

He previously introduced legislation establishing a war tax while representing Texas in the House in 2016 and 2017.

Rep. Jared HuffmanJared William HuffmanHouse at war over Jan. 6 inquiry, mask mandate GOP, Democrats battle over masks in House, Senate Tempers flare as some in GOP ignore new House mask mandate MORE (D-Calif.) praised the war tax proposed by O'Rourke on Monday.

"Wars are not free," Huffman wrote. "Its past time to require they be paid for (and actually authorized by Congress)."

However, the proposal drew significant criticism on Twitter, including among progressives.

"The dumb thing about the "war tax" is making it universal, which is also presumably the whole "shared sacrifice" point of it," New Republic staff writer Alex Pareene tweeted. "But which Americans do we think have been bearing the costs of these wars all this time?"

"Like an actually good war tax would raise the top marginal rate ten points for each new war." 

Co-host of political podcast Chapo Trap House Virgil Texas simply responded "no thank you" to an article about the tax.

The Young Turk's reporter Ken Klippenstein suggested the tax did not target the right people.

"Me, dumb: what if we had a war tax on defense contractors to get veterans better care," he wrote. "Beto, wise: what if we had a war tax on working people for wars the vast majority of them never supported." 

Lawyer Max Kennerly joked that the tax rate would be unlikely to dissuade those who benefit from war.

"Looking forward to the Raytheon CEO considering his home budget, seeing that he only has $17,098,188 annually to cover the $1,000 war tax, and realizing that forever war is bad and so calling up Congress right quick to stop it," he tweeted.