Does Ben Nelson Know What “War Bonds” Are?


Riddle of the day is inspired by Senator Ben Nelson’s take on financing the Afghanistan War through a war tax:

In lieu of a “war tax” to pay for a troop increase in Afghanistan, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson (NE) is proposing war bonds.

“We didn’t have a war tax in the second World War,” Nelson said, and instead the government sold Americans bonds. “People invested in their country, in that fashion [and] made a lot of sense back then. I don’t know why it might not make sense today, certainly in lieu of jumping to tax.”

One thing NBC’s Ken Strickland might have wanted to note while “reporting” this story is that what Nelson is saying here is false. During World War II taxes went up substantially. Here’s OMB’s figures on taxes as a percent of GDP for the years 1933-1953:


The larger issue here, though, is that we have to wonder does Ben Nelson understand that war bonds are just bonds? Calling a bond a “war bond” is a marketing gimmick, not an actual method of financing a war. Is Nelson saying that if Obama relabels a few hundred dollars worth of deficit spending as “war bonds” that he’ll stop complaining about?