Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke has unveiled a proposal for a progressive new "war tax" on non-military American households, as part of a broader plan aimed at providing better support for veterans.
What are the details?
The O'Rourke campaign unveiled the former Texas congressman's four-pronged plan on Monday, wherein he calls for the establishment of a new Veterans Health Care Trust Fund for each war the U.S. fights. Each trust fund would be accompanied by a "war tax" that would be "levied on households without current members of the Armed Forces or veterans of the Armed Forces."
The announcement reads, "This modest tax would be implemented on a progressive basis, with taxpayers who make over $200,000 per year (adjusted gross income) paying $1,000 in a new tax for each war." Politico reported that the war taxes would start at "$25 for taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes below $30,000."
Reuters noted that O'Rourke "did not specify what types of war, or the scale and origins of the wars, on which the tax would be levied."
O'Rourke — who has never served in the military — invoked the words of former President John F. Kennedy in promoting his plan, saying Americans must be "willing to pay any price and bear any burden" to provide support for those who have served our country.
O'Rourke served on the House of Representatives' Veterans' Affairs and Armed Services committees during his tenure in Congress. According to The Texas Tribune, the El Paso native held quarterly veteran-specific town halls over his three terms representing the West Texas district, which is home to Fort Bliss.
In addition to the new war taxes, O'Rourke's plan calls for ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, building a "state-of-the-art veterans affairs health care system," ending discrimination against veterans, and improving transition assistance to help veterans succeed following their exit from the military.
O'Rourke launched his presidential campaign in March with impressive fundraising numbers after gaining national attention for his failed bid to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). But so far he has failed to impress Democratic primary voters, and is currently polling around 4 percent.