Former Texas lawmaker and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke unveiled a plan to improve care and services for America’s veterans – which includes the implementation of a so-called “war tax.”
On Monday, O’Rourke called for the creation of a Veterans Health Care Trust Fund (VHCTF) for each war the country fights, designed to ensure veterans’ care is “always funded.” The trust fund would be expected to help cover costs related to hospital care, medical services, disability compensation and other veterans’ programs.
Every new VHCTF would be paired with the imposition of a war tax.
This progressive tax would begin at $25 for people with adjusted gross incomes below $30,000, up to $1,000 for those with adjusted gross incomes of more than $200,000. Americans would pay the tax for each war the country fights, according to the proposal.
Families with current Armed Forces members or veterans of the Armed Forces would be excluded.
In addition to the proposals for the war tax and trust funds, O’Rourke outlined steps to modernize the VA, including increasing transparency and addressing staffing shortages, in addition to increasing focus mental health issues.
He said he would reverse transgender troop restrictions.
O’Rourke also called on the U.S. to end its longstanding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He estimated the health care and disability- related costs of these “forever wars” could reach nearly $1 trillion over the next few decades. He proposed using half of the savings that would result from ending these conflicts to enhance veterans’ services.