Mission Creep at the Taxpayers League

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota defines itself as a "nonpartisan, grassroots taxpayer advocacy organization which fights for lower taxes and full empowerment of taxpaying citizens in accordance with the Constitution." So how does that jibe with the organization allowing Minnesota Families United for Our Troops to circulate a blatantly pro-war message through its E newsletter update? The message is a letter to the heads of the nation's major media, requesting that it publicize April 9 (the third anniversary of the end of Saddam Hussein's regime) as Iraqi Liberation Day in honor of our troops.

Okay, where to begin? Even steadfast Fox News watchers would be compelled to conclude that the situation in Iraq isn't exactly worth celebrating. Those who disagree should take their revelry to downtown Baghdad and see how they fare.

The country's "liberation" has led it to, depending upon your political persuasion, chronic and nasty sectarian strife, or burgeoning civil war. As for supporting our troops, why isn't MFUOT advocating for sufficient armor and sufficiently large numbers of military personnel rather than continuing to put lipstick on the pig that is the Bush/Rumsfeld plan of engagement in Iraq? How does the "nonpartisan" Taxpayers League finesse that?

But more to the point, why is the Taxpayers League implicitly supporting the expenditures that have been made in Iraq over the past three years in the first place? Rough math indicates that we have run up a tab of approximately $300 billion on the war thus far--a conservative estimate. Minnesota has slightly less than 2 percent of the nation's population--about 1.8 percent, actually--but our income levels are slightly higher than the national average, so let's call our state's contribution to the war effort two percent, or 1/50th of the total. Two percent of $300 billion is $6 billion, or two billion per year, thus far, and counting. That's approximately how much Minnesotans (or, more appropriately, the children and grandchildren of today's taxpaying Minnesotans) are or will be forking over to prosecute this colossal fiasco. Plus interest. Apparently the Taxpayers League believes this is money well spent.

The next time you hear the Taxpayers League bitching about the $200 million per year being collected in cigarette taxes, remember that it represents just one-tenth of the revenue that will be required to pay the piper for our part in the war effort the league apparently endorses.

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