While people are rushing to file their income taxes all across the state, it seems appropriate to focus on the tax that we are paying for the war in Iraq. The Bush administration and its facilitators in Congress bemoan taxes but continue to spend those dollars in Iraq. Senator John McCain is essentially promising more of this losing formula. As they continue to pour in unprecedented money, the list of serious consequences at home continues to grow. It is now past time to call the war in Iraq exactly what it is: a huge tax on all of us. Wisconsin’s share of the massive Iraq tax bill is $8.3 Billion. That breaks down to an Iraq Tax bill of $35,000 for a family of four.
Nobel Laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has said that we will face the costs of the Iraq war for decades to come. According to him we have already wracked up a $3 trillion bill in Iraq and every month that we stay there, it costs us $22 billion. Economists fear the long-term damage from the war in Iraq. It is responsible for adding billions to our debt which now tops $9 trillion. Economists are not the only group of people that see the economic disaster brought by the Iraq war. Nine in ten Americans also say that the Iraq war is contributing to our economic problems.
If we were not paying the Iraq Tax there are many other areas in which we could have invested our dollars. The National Priorities Project estimates that Wisconsin could have spent nearly $6.5 million on healthcare for children, over $10 million retrofitting houses with renewable electricity, $1.2 million on college scholarships, and almost $70,000 on affordable housing. These are all wise investments but unfortunately our hard earned dollars are being repeatedly diverted to the war in Iraq. If President Bush and Senator McCain have their way, we will be facing the Iraq Tax for a long time to come.