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Paying for more troops in Afghanistan

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Bill Radke: Tonight, President Obama will tell the nation his plans for Afghanistan
in a prime time address from West Point. The buzz is he’ll send about 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. But there are unanswered questions about how the U.S. would pay for that. Marketplace’s Amy Scott has our story.


Amy Scott: The White House says sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan would cost about $30 billion more a year.

To pay for it, some Democrats in Congress have proposed a war surtax. Most people would pay an extra 1 percent of their annual tax bill. The wealthy would pay more.

Dan Plesch directs the Center for International Studies and Diplomacy in London. He says a tax would raise awareness of the cost of war.

Dan Plesch: I think you might have more of a real sense of what’s going on if more people at the top of society were involved, and perhaps a higher tax is one way of approaching that.

But with the economy still weak and mid-term elections next year, a surtax might be a tough sell. Lawmakers may have to find the money by cutting other spending — or by borrowing it.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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