Again with the war bonds?

AGAIN WITH THE WAR BONDS?…. Maybe this polls well, or maybe there’s some hidden policy value that eludes me, but this talk about war bonds continues to seem misplaced.

Lawmakers in both houses of Congress have introduced legislation to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq by using a method that’s a throwback to prior U.S. conflicts: war bonds.

Saying that it would “promote national shared sacrifice and responsibility,” Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., introduced a bill Wednesday in the House of Representatives that would authorize the treasury secretary to issue and sell war bonds to Americans to fund the wars.

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., filed companion legislation in the Senate earlier this week.

Atrios added, “I have no idea how people voluntarily buying rate-earning war bonds is ‘shared sacrifice.'” Neither do I.

We already finance our debt through selling bonds. Calling a bond a “war bond,” like calling fried strips of potatoes “freedom fries,” is a gimmick, not a policy.

Alex Koppelman’s recent explanation was nice and simple: “The problem with this logic is that bonds — even war bonds — aren’t free money. At some point, those who invested expect to be paid back, and with interest. In order to accomplish that, the government has to use money it gets from … well, from tax dollars.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.