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Hoyer: No to the War Surtax

Echoing the recent message from Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters today that the middle of an employment crisis is no time to be slapping people with a new tax to fund the war in Afghanistan.

I am not supporting it at this point in time, but I do support [the] general proposition … It is complicated by the necessity, on the one hand, to get the economy going again and, on the other hand, to pay for what we buy.

The war-tax proposal, sponsored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), would increase the federal taxes owed by folks earning between $30,000 and $150,000 by 1 percent. The White House could set the rate even higher for those earning more than $150,000.

And just how much great would the additional burden on Americans be? Here’s Walter Pincus writing today in The Washington Post:

[T]he automatic 1 percent surcharge on people earning $150,000 in 2011 whose federal income tax works out to about $22,600 would add $226. … For the average family, which earns about $50,000, the added cost would be $50.

So about $4 per month per family (or 14 cents per day) is too much for congressional leaders to ask of Americans to fund a war being sold as vital to the protection of the same people? And the reason is that it might hurt the holiday shopping season? Really?

“Regardless of whether one favors the war or not, if it is to be fought, it ought to be paid for,” Obey said.

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