War Reparations: A Choice for Taxpayers
Opinion by Phil Jacobson
Libertarianism opposes war conscription of all types. But it also advocates for freedom of choice.
In Part 1 of this discussion, which focused on the Ukraine War, I asserted that no conscripted government funds should be allocated to a war. I specifically called for an end to USA funding in support of Ukraine in its war with Russia without the consent of the taxpayers, voting with their tax dollars. If this were policy, the only taxed funds which could go to that war effort would be funds which had been deliberately allocated by individual taxpayers from their tax assessment. Tax payments from taxpayers who did not choose that option would no longer be available to fund the war.
While this policy would prevent any war funding from automatically coming from opponents of the war, it would not allow war opponents to reallocate their own taxes. War supporters would be able to send some or even all of their tax money to fund the war. I ended the first part of this discussion by asking if the idea of giving options to taxpayers be appropriate in other contexts.
In this, Part 2, I explore a policy proposal which grants an option, a choice, to taxpayers who oppose a war that the USA government has funded. Again, the proposal is very narrow, but in principle could be applied in other specific examples.
The rhetoric of many, if not most, who support the Ukrainian side in this war has included a demand that Russia withdraw completely from internationally recognized Ukrainian territory. There has also been a call by some for reparations. It is not clear that, given the stresses placed by the war on the Russian economy, a Russia which has ceased fighting and withdrawn from Ukraine could provide a lot of material or financial aid to a recovering Ukraine. But whether or not any effective aid program from Russia is established, there is no question that the USA government has assigned to Russia blame for the economic damage to Ukraine caused by the war.
Yet a similar claim might be made against the USA government itself with regard to the need for aid to Afghanistan to address the damage caused by USA military operations there, only recently ended. Similar claims against the USA government might also be made in other parts of the world.