Rep. Alan Grayson Introduces the “War Is Making You Poor” Act

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* By Joshua Holland AlterNet *

The bill would cut the DoD’s budget and use that money to make the first $35,000 each American earns tax-free.

Last week, as Congress prepared to pass yet another “emergency” spending bill to cover America’s costly operations in Iraq and Afghanistan — to the tune of $159 billion this time around — Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Florida, introduced a bill that would force the Pentagon to pick up the tab out of its ample regular budget.

The War Is Making You Poor Act is elegant in its simplicity. Instead of financing these longstanding conflicts outside of the regular budgeting process, where they’re not factored into deficit projections, Grayson’s bill would make the DoD work within its means, and the money would instead be used for an across-the-board tax cut that would make the first $35,000 each American earns tax-free.

“The purpose of this bill,” wrote Grayson last week, “is to connect the dots, and to show people in a real and concrete way the cost of these endless wars.” It’s not just the costs of active shooting wars; with hundreds of bases overseas, as far as the defense budget is concerned Americans have been on a permanent wartime footing, to varying degrees, since Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. “War is a permanent feature of our societal landscape,” wrote Grayson, “so much so that no one notices it anymore.”

The bill already has several co-sponsors, including at least two Republicans (albeit maverick GOPers Ron Paul of Texas and Walter Jones of South Carolina). But since the Pentagon would have to take money out of its regular budget — largely from the budget for newfangled hardware — the DoD and influential defense contractors will no doubt fight it tooth-and-nail.

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