Pay for all war costs with a levy on extracted materials

Paying for all war costs with a levy on the material fought over would bring an end to American war in the Middle East and other wars like it. Promoting the idea is enough to change the conversation to the root cause of the American war in the region, profit from oil.

By bringing the underlying cause of the war to the forefront, this levy would cut through propaganda and reduce popular support for and private profit from the war. Paying for the Persian Gulf wars with a tax on oil would dramatically increase the consumer price of oil while the war is being waged, and dramatically decrease public support for the war, by associating the war with a dramatically higher oil price, instead of just an undefined portion of income taxes, other taxes, or debt. This would also result in decreased domestic consumption of that material during the war, through carpooling, public transit, and general reduction of consumption as a result of the price shock, and the reduction of consumption would decrease the oil companies’ profit motive for the war.

“All war costs” should include not only the financial but also the human costs of the war. If the ongoing human toll in lives and limbs lost on all sides is valued and included in the sum total amount of the levy along with the financial cost of warfighting, then the total war costs distributed as a levy on extracted materials would certainly be enough to end ongoing or prevent similar future wars. However, if human costs are not factored into the calculus of this tax, and if paying the financial cost of the war alone with a tax on extracted resources is not enough of an impetus to end the war, then, if necessary to further reduce profit from and public support for the war, the amount of the tax can be backdated to cover financial costs dating back to Middle East war turning points such as 2014, 2007, 2003, and 1990.

Revenue sources currently distributed to war may be redistributed as deficit reduction, or to domestic security, or as income tax cuts, or as seen fit. Domestic public use, e.g. public transportation and public services, should be tax exempt. Production and distribution of food, heating oil, and other necessities should be exempt; thus, prices of food and other essentials will not increase as a result of this policy. Rural use may also be tax exempt. When war costs decrease and end, the tax would simultaneously decrease and end with them.

Implementing this policy would end and prevent further warfare by illuminating the underlying cause of our invasion, making the war less profitable, and making the war’s cost more noticeable to the public. Campaigning for this policy cuts through propaganda, strengthening people’s antiwar beliefs.

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