Why Democrats Have Not Cut Off the War's Funding

Why don’t liberals ever suggest that the government lower taxes after a war is over?

I have watched liberal politicians for 50 years. I have never heard one of them call for tax reductions after a war. Always, they say, “Now let’s spend the money that the IRS collected, plus the money we borrowed, on the poor. Don’t lower taxes.”

With whatever money the public was willing to pay to fund the war, the Democrats want to spend forever: to seek votes of the poor and votes of guilt-ridden middle class liberals.

This is why you rarely see liberals vote against a war. They love what war does: it expands the level of taxes that voters will accept. Then, when the war goes sour — and only then — they call for peace. They don’t call very loudly. The only way for Congress to get peace is to cut off the funding. But Democrats refuse to do this because they hate tax cuts more than they hate war.

Jim Wallis is typical. He calls himself a radical Christian. He campaigns as a defender of peace. That is all to the good. But he does not send out letters telling his donors to call on Congress to stop the war’s funding immediately. That would alienate his Democrat donors and his contacts on Capitol Hill, who are unwilling to do anything this controversial. Instead, he calls for an end to the war on these terms: the government gets to keep all the money that went for the war, permanently, in order to give to welfare bureaucrats to spend on the poor (after deducting their salaries and overhead).

Liberals have done this ever since 1945. The result? Ever higher Defense Department spending, and not much welfare spending by comparison.

Liberals are incurably naïve. They think the U.S. government will quit spending on war-related items just because a war ends. But military spending always goes up. Liberals never do get their hands on most of the post-war loot. They do not learn from experience.

It was President Eisenhower, a Republican, who warned in his farewell address against the military-industrial complex. His successor, John F. Kennedy, won the election in 1960 because he said there was a missile gap between the USA and the USSR. (There wasn’t, and he knew there wasn’t during the campaign.)

With this as background, listen to Wallis’s March 28, 2007 appeal to his supporters.

Tell Congress to Pass a Moral Budget. Congress is deciding on the outlines of this year’s federal budget. At stake are billions of dollars for working families and poor children in the United States and around the globe.

For years now, people of faith have been fighting bad budgets that prioritize tax cuts and military spending over social supports for the poorest in our society. This year, Congress has an opportunity to pass a budget that puts people first.

Tell your representative to vote for a moral budget that honors our commitment to “the least of these”!

There is a saying among some fundamentalists, “Once saved, always saved!” Wallis has rewritten it: “Once taxed, always taxed!”

April2, 2007

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com. He is also the author of a free 19-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

Copyright © 2007 LewRockwell.com