Democratic war tax proponent Obey calls expected troop surge a 'fool's errand'

The chief architect of a bill to increase taxes to pay for the Afghanistan war said he didn't believe adding troops would yield much benefit.
"The problem is you can have the best policy in the world but if you don't have the tools to implement it it isn't worth a bean bag,"
Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), the House Appropriations Committee chairman, told CNN on Sunday.


President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMichelle Obama shares Father's Day tribute: 'Our daughters couldn't have asked for a better role model' Biden raised key concerns with Putin, but may have overlooked others Democrats have turned solidly against gas tax MORE is expected to announce on Tuesday he will add 30,000 troops to the war effort in Afghanistan to stem the rise of Taliban and to pursue al-Qaeda.
But Obey said supporting a corrupt Afghan government by adding troops amounted to a "fool's errand."
If policymakers believe continuing the war effort in Afghanistan was an important public policy, Obey added, then they should be willing to pay for it by raising taxes on higher income levels. The war would likely cost as much over the next decade as the effort to reforming the healthcare system, Obey said.
"If we're being told we have to pay for healthcare we certainly pay for this effort as well," Obey said. Otherwise, Congress would eventually have to raid other parts of the budget targeted at education or the economy to fund the war effort. Using deficit spending to pay for the operations has also removed most Americans from any burden in the war effort.
"In this war, we have not had any sense of shared sacrifice," Obey said.
Obey's bill would increase taxes by 1 percent on incomes over $150,000. Tax rates would increase further at higher income levels.
The financial cost of sending more troops to Afghanistan was a central theme on Sunday talk shows.
Earlier on CNN's "State of the Union," Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said a surtax should be part of the debate about how to pay for the war.
"We're going to have to have a serious talk about budget and about the $1 trillion deficit we are in now and will continue to be in," Lugar said.
But his colleague, Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBiden to host Afghan president at White House on Friday Portman: Republicans are 'absolutely' committed to bipartisan infrastructure bill Sunday shows - Voting rights, infrastructure in the spotlight MORE (R-S.C.), told ABC's "This Week" that Congress should cut spending to pay for the additional troops.