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It’s Tax Week – Do You Know Where Your Tax Dollars are Going?

April 14, 2008

Chicago, IL – The statements are in, and they show that the average Illinois family has "paid" almost $14,000 for the Iraq war -- so far. Quaker volunteers are distributing the information for Tax Day Tuesday, they say, out of concerns for peace, soldier's lives and the nation's bottom line.

In the view of American Friends Service Committee member Michael McConnell, the war initially was going to be quick and not expected to cost much. Today, however, it's been five years, with a tab so high that the money is being borrowed.

"Each time Congress is asked to pass a supplemental bill, it's a credit card zipping through the machine, and it's got the U.S. taxpayers' names on it."

When the long-term cost of caring for record numbers of veterans with disabilities caused by the war are factored in, it will take at least a generation to pay the tab, according to McConnell. And he says Congress is expected to consider another emergency funding bill for the war in the coming weeks.

"We're probably going to pass a lot of this debt onto our kids. For me, that's unacceptable; and I think for more people in this country, it's unacceptable."

President Bush spoke last week about the importance of keeping troops in Iraq to preserve progress on reducing violence there, among citizens and against U.S. troops. McConnell notes the war costs $720 million a day, and that one day of the war costs could pay for more than 34,000 four-year college scholarships, or healthcare for more than 400,000 kids.

The American Friends Service Committee Tax Day demonstration is Tuesday, noon to 5:00 PM, Federal Plaza, Chicago. Featured speakers include a former U.S. Army Colonel who resigned to protest the war.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - IL