Wartime Taxes and Sacrifice
Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, UCLA law professor (and noted tax law expert) Kirk Stark has a brilliant post on the history of Republican Party attitudes towards wartime taxes. Citing examples from Lincoln to the present day, Stark concludes that the party has completely reversed its position over the past generation or two:
For more than a century -- from the founding of the Republican Party through the war in Vietnam -- Republican leaders consistently supported high wartime taxes. Indeed, support for higher wartime taxes was a defining feature of being a military hawk among the GOP faithful.
... Today, of course, McCain has abandoned this sort of rhetoric in favor of wholehearted support of the Bush tax cuts. McCain's reversal illustrates the enduring political influence of Ronald Reagan (the country's most popular tax-cutting military hawk), as well as that of George W. Bush (the country's least popular tax-cutting military hawk). It is also part of a broader story of the decline of liberal Republicans.
But the question remains: is there any life left in the traditional GOP insistence on higher taxes during times of war? Interestingly, 32 House Republicans voted recently for an expanded G.I. bill that included a new surtax on high-income households, suggesting that, perhaps, the jury is still out.
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