The $65 billion is roughly equivalent to Russia’s entire military budget for 2021, including Russian soldiers’ pay and housing, according to an estimate from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The spending is more than all military-related spending by the United Kingdom and is almost twice as much as France spends each year. The spending is twice as large as the U.S. Army’s underfunded annual spending on the development and purchase of new weaponry.
The spending is about $200 per American. In 2020, four out of ten households earned less than $40,000 per year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The gusher of aid to Ukraine is more than four times as much as the $15 billion that Democrats agreed to spend on the protective border wall sought by President Donald Trump.
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Congress’s flood of military gear and aid is 300 times as much as the $197 million spent by Congress in 2021 to buy new “multi-energy” drug-detection devices for border agents to find drugs smuggled within trucks and cars. Many routes into the U.S. lack the scanners, even as more than 100,000 Americans die of drug deaths each year.
Congress’s spending for Ukraine is eight times the $8 billion annual budget for the Immigration Customs Enforcement agency. The agency has been put on a budget diet and a forced stand down by President Joe Biden’s pro-migration border chief because he does not want the agents to deport more than a few thousand of the roughly 13 million illegal migrants in the United States.
The aid approved by Congress also understates the true cost of the military support provided to Ukraine.
For example, much U.S.-developed weaponry — such as Javelin missiles and satellite-guided artillery shells — is being delivered from U.S. army warehouses. This direct transfer spares Ukraine from having to pay a share of the weaponry’s development costs.
Similarly, Ukraine is getting the value of U.S. spy aircraft and spy satellites without having to help build those networks. That surveillance technology is being integrated with U.S.-built, long-range, satellite-guided rockets to hit Russian ammunition dumps, headquarters, and high-tech surveillance gear.
The U.S. weaponry was developed to counter the Soviet army in the Cold War. and is extremely effective. So far, it has wrecked the Russians’ advantages in tanks, aircraft, artillery, and surveillance gear, often with sniper-style strikes at distances of 2o miles. The three or four undersea Nord Stream pipeline explosions have now wrecked Russia’s strategic advantage in Europe’s energy market.
The aid for Ukraine, however, is a small slice of the enormous economic and political stakes in the war.
Vladimir Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine in February after 20 years of post-Cold War diplomatic struggles and standoffs with the United States over Ukraine’s Russian-populated eastern regions and proposed membership in NATO. The dispute turned hot in 2014 when Russia reclaimed Crimea and helped ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine — the Donbas region — to break away from Ukraine’s control.
Russia’s February offensive failed because of Russian errors, U.S. weapons, and Ukrainian bravery.
Russia is now trying to keep control of Russian-populated provinces in eastern Ukraine and Crimea as the U.S.-armed Ukraine army reclaims ground. Ukraine’s advance may create an internal political crisis that could fracture Russia’s vast, multi-ethnic, nuclear-armed country. So far, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers have reportedly been killed, alongside a large number of Ukrainian soldiers.
On September 28, a U.S. official threatened Russia with “catastrophic” retaliation should Russia use even the smallest of its many nuclear weapons to hold back the Ukrainian army:
When it comes to the contingency planning that we’ve engaged in for the potential use of a nuclear weapon by Russia in Ukraine, we have spoken very clearly of the implications for Russia were that to happen. We’ve used a number of adjectives. We have said there would be catastrophic, severe, strong, profound implications for Russia. All of those are accurate. We are – we stand by all of those descriptors. The point that we have made both publicly and privately to the Russians is that the consequences would be real, and they would be extraordinary.
The threat was made shortly after State Department spokesman Ned Price dismissed as “preposterous” any suggestion that the U.S. covertly destroyed Russia’s gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea. Such claims are “Russian disinformation and should be treated as such,” Price said.
Ukrainian officials have given no sign they want to drop their demand for control of Crimea. The peninsula has been held by Russia since 1783 when Catherine the Great captured it from the Turkish empire.
Even as Congress spends more money on Ukraine, it skimps on vital needs for Americans.
The spending is 240 times the $260 million spent by Congress training nurses in 2022. The spending is too little to train all of the Americans who want to become nurses, so helping hospital chains argue that they need to import cheaper, compliant foreign nurses. Similarly, Congress each year refuses to provide additional funds to train more Americans to work as doctors.
Ukraine’s spending exceeds the much-delayed $53 billion “CHIPS” act intended to reestablish U.S. production of computer chips. Congress spent just $10 billion to help develop technology centers outside Silicon Valley, Virginia, Texas, and New York. The $10 billion for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska Iowa, Tennessee, and many other states is just one-sixth of the fast-track aid to Ukraine.
The spending on Ukraine is 3,000 times the $20 million needed to fix the failed water supply in Jackson, Mississippi.
The spending is 200 times as large as the Democrats’ $300 million package to boost policing nationwide. That election-eve bill was hobbled by far-left opposition and has yet to be approved by the Senate.
The Ukraine funding is more than the zero dollars being spent to help Americans who lose jobs because of free trade via the lapsed Trade Adjustment Assistance program. That long-standing program has been operational since 1974, but it stopped accepting new people in July.
Congress’s rush to supply Ukraine is also a notable contrast with spending cuts urged by GOP congressional budget hawks in 2017. Back then, the GOP proposal called for $500 billion in cuts from Medicare and $150 billion from Medicaid and Obamacare.
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