“Make the world safe for democracy.” — Woodrow Wilson
A group is advertising against Joe Biden and his support of Ukraine. They have mentioned how we have given Ukraine 66 billion dollars and how we could be using “all that” money at home to solve our own problems. They are calling themselves common sense for something or other, so I thought I would take a look at their arguments in case you have friends and family uttering the same things.
I should say first that we should ignore the name of this organization. They know very well what they are arguing and it has little to do with common sense. It always pays to look up who is supporting them financially and where their support is going politically. Do they have ties to Russia? I could spend time on that, but there are earnest people making the same arguments, so we will focus on that.
Let’s start with the sum of money. 66 billion dollars is a lot of money and it sounds like a huge sum. In 2022, 6.27 trillion dollars has been allocated. That means that the 66 billion referenced accounts for a little more than one percent of the federal budget. Let’s remember that the aforementioned Biden (or really Congress since they pass the budget) has cut the deficit by a heftier percentage than at any time in history. So, it’s not like we are talking about runaway spending here.
This is not an annual expenditure. It obviously is in response to the crisis. So, let’s focus on common sense. This is what we often call a “straw man” argument. Why are we ignoring these problems at home when we help Ukraine? Well, when you are talking less than one percent of the budget you should clue yourself in that this is a false choice. It isn’t help Ukraine or feed the hungry. It isn’t help Ukraine or clothe the naked. It isn’t help Ukraine or fight “uncontrollable” crime at home. You can easily do all of those things and I think most people would acknowledge that it would take far more than 66 billion to address all of those concerns.
In point of fact, this is anything but common sense. We live in an ever shrinking world and we see a better life economically and in terms of our security when democracies are allowed to thrive. Boil this down and you have one country that wants its own autonomy while the other wants to control it. Deciding to help or not help isn’t about common sense. It is about whether it is in our best interest to help. Is it a better world if we allow Russia to do whatever it wants? It is the same question as with China and it’s neighboring countries. It’s the same as the Middle East. Pick any region of the world and ask the same questions.
This is where one of those friends or family will point out that we can’t afford to help everyone. This is absolutely true, but any decision about who we support cannot be boiled down to common sense. It is much more intricate than that. There are all kinds of factors that go into deciding to help Ukraine and not some other country.
They want the 66 billion spent here. Would they go to the family starving on the street and help them? Well, why do you choose to help this family but not that family? Is it really common sense or is there something else at play here? Again, this is for your earnest family and friends. I suspect we know for those that are creating this ad and we know it has nothing to do with common sense.