‘Not 1 more cent’: Americans are done with funding Ukraine’s paychecks

    By Rachel Hamdoun & Hussein Assaf – Source: Al Mayadeen English

    This is not a drill. This is real-time. The US government is shutting down at midnight. The Democrats want to throw more dollars into defense funding, and the Republicans are putting their fist down. The Democrats’ “main squeeze”, Ukraine, has become the Republicans’ main problem. 

      The world’s largest economy, for now, is in no shape to withstand unlimited spending like it did when Washington had near-complete dominance over the trajectory of global events, thus being able to forecast and exploit the outcomes of geopolitical conflicts.

      Today, things have changed, for both the government and the American population.

      In recent years, the “patriotic” sentiment among the American public witnessed a clear decline to a level unseen during all of their country’s previous wars – just take a look at recruitment numbers – for several reasons, but most importantly, US citizens, to a large extent, no longer believe that their government’s foreign wars are fundamentally related to protecting the country and its position as the world’s “number one exporter of democracy.”

      Down the hill

      This is not a drill. This is real-time. The US government is shutting down at midnight. The Democrats want to throw more dollars into defense funding and Ukraine aid, while the Republicans are putting their fist down. The Democrats’ “main squeeze,” Ukraine, has become the Republicans’ main problem.

      Earlier this month, the US national debt surpassed $33 trillion for the first time in American history, and just in the first week following this milestone event, $100 billion was added to these numbers. These figures indicate that every man, woman, and child in the country is in over $100,000 debt, most of which they had no control over. The latest data show that debt continues to go up by over $14 billion per day.

      Funding the government in a stopgap funding bill to last till November until a solution is agreed on is what’s keeping the government from functioning, literally, and that means government workers in parks, public services, and even airport traffic controllers and Border Patrol agents will be required to work without pay – or may stop working at all. 

      The stopgap funding bill is proposed by the Democrats to include around $6 billion for Ukraine, but the obstacle in the road is that the Republicans, led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, want to pass the bill without any funds to Ukraine.

      As Senator Rand Paul said on Thursday over X: “To avoid a government shutdown, I will consent to an expedited vote on a clean CR without Ukraine aid on it. If leadership insists on funding another country’s government at the expense of our own government, all blame rests with their intransigence”. 

      Love me, feed me, never leave me (for Ukraine instead)

      As the United States nears to start its new fiscal year on October 1, Congress is yet to pass the $826 billion 2024 Defense Department spending budget.

      In the likely case that a government shutdown takes place, some 171,000 service members stationed overseas, along with tens of thousands serving in the US, will not get paid during that period.

      Meanwhile, according to CBS News, the US is currently supplying the paychecks for over 57,000 Ukrainians claiming to be servicemen, such as firefighters and medics.

      Thus, not only Biden’s administration is supplying billions worth of weapons for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to spend with no insight on how or where, but now they’re being the allowance-givers to Ukrainians when the average American is currently searching for a lifeline just to pay rent and buy food. 

      “When you don’t have your full operating capacity to be able to help with the mission, to be able to conduct an exercise or training, of course, that gets to our national security and readiness.” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh commented on the matter of not paying American soldiers and military personnel.

      The shutdown deadline isn’t the only thing haunting not just the government, but the people – the next big thing is the upcoming round of elections for 2024 due to kick off in November. Americans have been suffering quite a deal of unemployment, which according to the Department of Labor has increased this week with 2,000 claims from last week, and high inflation wrapped nicely with high interest rates and credit debt issues. 

      Biden’s election war

      Today, given the US’ gradual decline as a unipolar world power, its internal systems is growing more vulnerable to out-of-control world events, as opposed to its post-WWII state where its ruling echelon had an upper hand to exert a one-way influence on foreign governments and impose their own political and economic ideologies.

      Evidently, once perceived as a death sentence, sanctions on foreign countries do not have the same paralyzing effect anymore – ask Wahsington about the price cap on Russia’s oil exports – rather, nations subjected to US coercion measures are finding new regions and countries willing to prioritize their national interests over US dictates to engage with – although slowly, but steadily.

      Biden’s approval ratings among the American people are already a walking disaster for the Democrats and for his chances of winning a second term. A poll last week by ABC News and The Washington Post shows that only 37% of Americans approve of his performance as president. 

      Pair that with his son Hunter’s scandals and most notably his involvement with Ukrainian corruption (the more the merrier, right?), then he’s probably close to not even seeing the light of being re-elected. The White House sweetheart is not just spelling the end of his father’s career as president – let alone the reason he may get impeached – but may paving the very road that will lead to trouble in the lost city of American hegemony in foreign relations and policies.

      Particularly so, that his scandal which involved being a board member for the Ukrainian energy company Burisma while his father was aiding in ‘anti-corruption’ efforts in Ukraine, obscured politics and business so much that the Republicans wish to see no more American loot go to it.

      Furthermore, recent records revealed that Biden the father used his leverage as then VP to former President Barack Obama to facilitate these deals, even expanding them, and at times, directly using his authority to block attempts to hinder these deals, including direct intervention to sack a Ukrainian prosecutor looking into the work of Burisma.

      ‘Just the two of us’

      The American military industrial complex found their honey pot in Ukraine. The revenue of weapons contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, and Raytheon soared following the start of the war – fully funded by taxpayers’ money. In just one year, these companies recorded an average of around 30 percent in increased cash inflow, while American citizens struggled to battle record-high inflation rates and catastrophic unemployment rates.

      “It’s certainly more than we’ve given any country before, even at the height of the Afghanistan war,” said Hanna Homestead, a policy analyst at the Center for International Policy, commenting on US funds to Ukriane – which recently exceeded a $100 billion.

      For over a year now, Biden and his administration hawks countine to parade around with a war moto of “Whatever it takes” and “as long as it takes” in terms of cash and weapons supply to Kiev. Meanwhile, regular US citizens are finding it increasingly difficult to reach the end of the month debt-free.

      Washington seems to have forgotten about American citizens. Why should they be working regular and overtime shifts, paying off student loan debts, and filling up their kitchen pantries halfway only for Ukrainian so-called servicemen to be paid instead with their money and their income tax? 

      Apparently, the US government is unwilling to solve its own domestic problems, as more citizens are growing apprehensive, to put it mildly, with never-ending wars their country is involved in.

      With no end in sight for the war in Ukraine, mainly due to Washington’s public opposition to a resolution to the conflict, there remains no due date for when the draining of the US economy will stop.

      What exacerbates the situation is that these wars are no longer improving their standard of living or supporting their lifestyle as they did a few decades earlier.

      The current reality is that engaging in wars overseas has become a burden in the US citizens’ daily lives, clearly reflected when paying their bills, purchasing groceries, dealing with IRS taxes, or watching retailers add an extra dollar “to support Ukraine.”