• Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke suggested a tax on civilians for future wars
  • Veterans and family members of military would be excluded from the tax
  • According to Defense Department data wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have cost taxpayers over $1.5 trillion

War Tax Against Non Military Families

On Monday, former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke purposed a tax against non-military families for each future war in an effort to discourage Americans from continuing to get into wars overseas.

O’Rourke said the tax would be progressive and aimed at charging the wealthy more than the poor. Taxpayers making over $200,000 a year would be forced to pay $1,000 per war. O’Rourke said the money would go towards Veterans Health Care Trust Funds (VHCTF), which would be created at the start of a new war. Money from those funds would go towards programs for veterans, such as medical costs and disability compensation.

Every new VHCTF would be paired with enactment of new war tax. This new tax would serve as a reminder of the incredible sacrifice made by those who serve and their families.

Beto O’Rourke on proposed war tax.

O’Rourke said families of members or veterans of the Armed Forces would not have to pay the war tax. At this time it was not clear how much the purposed tax would cost those in the middle class or lower income brackets.

How Much Of Americans’ Taxes Go Towards War?

In 2017, previously unreleased reports from the Pentagon showed the average taxpayer had paid $7,500 to fund wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since 9/11. In 2017, Americans paid $289 in taxes for war. That number had been expected to drop to $281 in 2018. In 2010, the average American was paying $767 a piece, which slowly declined to to $204 by 2016. According to data from the Defense Department, from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria the Pentagon’s share cost taxpayers $1.5 trillion.

Watch: Beto O’Rourke 2020 Presidential Election Announcement

In reality $1.5 trillion is a low figure. According to Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs the number is closer to $5 trillion when you add in classified amounts spent on war by government agencies. Then there is the cost of medical and disability for veterans for the next 40 years, along with war related funding for government agencies. Since the 9/11 attacks the average taxpayer has paid $4,100 for wars.

The Reason Behind Taxing Non Military Families

In a series of tweets, O’Rourke explained the reason for the war tax is to discourage future wars. O’Rourke believes his plan will finally end America’s “forever wars” by bringing soldiers home and ensuring veterans receive the highest quality of care from the best at VA clinics around the country.

In the tweets, O’Rourke claims the tax would help free up $200 billion that would have been spent on war. O’Rourke says that money would then be reinvested into veterans to ensure better health care and dealing with the issue of homelessness among former members of the Armed Forces.

O’Rourke also called for an end to the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was created after the 9/11 attacks and granted more leeway to combat terrorism. In the last week Democrats requested to repeal the law.

In December of 2016, President Barack Obama signed into a law a bill that requesting the Defense Secretary and the Internal Revenue Service Commissioner to make public how much taxpayers had paid on war since 9/11. Georgia Representative John Lewis was the lawmaker behind the bill. The data was compiled for the public with help from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. At that time it was estimated fighting Islamic State group militants was costing $12.5 million a day.


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