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December 11, 2012

NATION: A Budget Lesson From 1917

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan represented the first time that a U.S. president did not seek new taxes to cover the fighting. Supported by a GOP-led House and Senate from 2001 through 2006, and then just the GOP-run House, Bush raised the debt ceiling seven times through 2008, almost doubling it, from about $6 trillion to $11.3 trillion.

President Obama followed suit. In November 2009, Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wis., and others introduced a bill for a surtax to help pay for the war. They had no support from leaders of either party or Obama.

The fiscal cliff is just weeks away, and the debt limit will come up probably next month.

Where are leaders like those in 1917? Where are the American people who willingly shared new tax burdens, at least to pay for their forces fighting overseas?

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