Paying for Russian - Ukraine War Aid Should be Pay Now, Not Later

Paying for Russian/Ukraine War Aid Should be Pay Now, Not Later

There are both good-faith and bad-faith arguments against providing more military aid for Ukraine. You can’t win an argument against bad-faith people, but people of sincere convictions must be taken seriously and responded to with respect. One honest contrary argument is the effect our Ukraine aid has on the U.S. deficit and our national debt. Taken seriously, we can find remedies to answer such concerns.

The debt and deficit problem is real. There used to be a saying that ‘a billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon, you’re talking real money.’ America has made significant progress since then. Nowadays, it’s ‘a trillion here, a trillion there’ before you start considering it as real money. This serves as a reminder that not all progress is positive. The explosion of our debt is a prime example of detrimental progress.

The Senate has passed a military aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, worth nearly $100 billion. Not exactly a trillion, but $100 billion is real money too. It is not out of our altruism that we should support these three countries against our shared enemies. Helping them stand up to our enemies is a strategic way to ensure American security and prosperity without American lives at stake. Anyone suggesting America’s sons and daughters should be on the ground fighting in Ukraine, is invited to leave now.

Many Republicans are prudent and correct to support military aid to our allies depending on offsets. So how do we do it?

During World War II, “lawmakers looked to income taxes — both individual and corporate — when trying to find new revenue” to fund our war effort. “They raised rates on wealthy individuals and profitable businesses …”

We are at that point if we want to provide aid to our allies (Israel and Taiwan) and to a nation (Ukraine) invaded by blood thirsty, power hungry Russia, we need to pay for it now. So call what I am proposing as a War Tax if you must.

Part of these offsets, this War Tax, can come from increasing taxes on hedge funds, million dollar plus incomes and multinational corporations at a very small rate. A 2 percent increase in the corporate tax alone will generate nearly half of the revenue for the military aid package. At a time of very low unemployment, a small increase in corporate tax, still way below the rate before the 2017 tax cuts, will not have terrible effects on the economy. Similarly, a small increase in hedge fund tax rates will generate more revenue without drastic harm to the economy. Furthermore, extracting cash from markets can help bring down inflation without harming ordinary Americans.

From a moral perspective, this also makes sense. There is a lot at stake when it comes to the Russo–Ukraine War, but multinational corporations and hedge funds with international investments have much more to protect. Their investments in foreign markets like Europe means that to protect their assets they need a safe Europe that is not threatened by the Russian military every day. It is right to ask those with more at stake financially to chip in more monetarily.

President Joe Biden needs to also get over his fears and give frozen Russian assets to Ukraine. Congress has already done its job. The REFO Act, passed earlier in January, gives the president the authority to transfer Russian assets to Ukraine—or to use it to buy weapons and transfer those weapons to Ukraine.

Around $300 billion of Russia’s assets are in the custody of free-world countries, but the United States has access to only $5 billion of them. The rest are mostly in Europe. The administration took too long but seems to have come around to this idea, yet it is having trouble convincing the Europeans.

For Biden and other Democrats who pride themselves in diplomacy and promised U.S. voters an administration of adults, so far, their efforts have failed to bring our European allies on board.

Americans will be right to complain that they are paying for Russian aggression in Ukraine, but the Russians are not. The president must convey to the allies that convincing Americans and their elected representatives to approve aid to Ukraine will be much easier if we make the Russians pay. Simply put, it is a tough sell to suggest that the future of the world depends on Ukrainian victory, but risking American and European business assets in Russia is too high a price to pay for world peace.

It is possible that the Europeans will not sign off anyway. In that case, the United States should transfer the $5 billion in its custody. It will be easier to convince the Europeans to follow if we lead by example.

And regarding offsetting military aid costs with spending cuts, it is time to start asking every progressive (the ones with Ukraine flags in their social media profile – Israel flags not wanted), what programs they are willing to cut to fund our allies. Democrats in Congress and their ActBlue social media warriors act like the world is one big Monopoly game board. For those who read this and say, ‘but Republicans,’ remember every time Republicans propose a budget to cut spending, President Biden and his press sycophants come out with the tired old line of cutting spending for grandma, kids on the street, etc. In 2023, the federal government collected $4.5 trillion in revenue and spent almost $6.2 trillion. With a budget that size, no one’s grandma is going to be on the street, even if you cut a trillion.

Biden needs to show fiscal leadership and work with his Democratic Congressional allies to find every tax increase and spending cut tweak to offset monetary aid to our friends. No one said being an adult is easy, and our nation’s prosperity can no longer hope for the best with regards to deficit spending.

Note: the opinions expressed herein are those of Chuck Warren only and not his co-host Sam Stone or Breaking Battlegrounds’ staff.

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