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Biden Is Giving $40 Billion to Ukraine. Here's What That Money Could Do Here
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On top of the \$2 billion it already sent to Ukraine, the Biden administration has asked Congress to ignore its previous request for \$10 billion to pay for updated COVID-19 vaccines for American citizens (Pandemic? What pandemic?) and send an additional \$33 billion to Ukraine instead. The House of Representatives not only obliged but authorized more than Biden wanted: \$40 billion.

The U.S. Congress does this with military spending all the time. They live to please!

Every Democratic congressman voted “yes” to send weapons to a country that has “several hundred monuments, statues, and streets named after Nazi collaborators,” according to The Forward. That even includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Squad,” who claim to be progressive.

In the Senate, a rare voice of opposition was raised by libertarian Republican Rand Paul. “We don’t need to be the sugar daddy and the policemen of the world,” Paul remarked. For his trouble, Paul was bizarrely accused of “treason” by online commenters who suggested that his surly Kentucky neighbor should assault him again. All Paul wanted was a week to go over exactly where all that money is going.

Whatever you think of the crisis in Ukraine, Paul has a point. A week isn’t going to make any difference. We should distrust bullies who tell us there’s no time to think, hurry up, shut up, do what we tell you. The total lack of debate in Washington, and in the news media, over the quick transfer of \$40 billion to a country that is not a U.S. ally, has a grim human rights record and recently banned a bunch of political parties and opposition cable news channels, ought to prompt some sort of discussion. First and foremost, we ought to consider just how much money \$40 billion is and what it could do here in the United States, for Americans.

The \$40 billion we are sending to Ukraine will not change the outcome of the war. The United States would never commit enough money or ground troops to do that because it would risk World War III with Russia. The \$40 billion will buy a lot of weapons and ammunition that will kill Russians and Ukrainians. Nothing more; nothing less.

So how much, exactly, is \$40 billion?

Here in the United States, here are some of the things that \$40 billion could do:

A \$2,000 scholarship for every college student.

A \$6,000 scholarship for every college student who is officially in poverty.

\$72,000 to every homeless person.

\$2,400 to every veteran.

\$410,000 to every public school.

\$1.3 million to every public high school. It could be used to buy books and other equipment, fix broken infrastructure, build something new for the kids. \$1.3 million would pay the salaries of 20 new teachers for 10 years.

\$500 to each American family. I pledge to use my \$500 not to kill any Russians or Ukrainians.

\$420 to every cat. That’s a lot of kibble and litter. Cats don’t kill Russians or Ukrainians.

\$2 million each to every person wrongfully convicted of a murder they didn’t commit.

Give a new, fully loaded car to a million people.

Give a sweet, fully loaded Macbook Pro laptop to 10 million people.

Give a sweet new TV to 100 million people.

Everyone who currently subscribes to Netflix gets three years for free.

Every adult gets a free subscription to the Washington Post digital edition for three years.

Every adult gets 15 free tickets to the actual, real, in-person, not-at-home movies.

\$40 billion would repair almost all of the 220,000 bridges in the United States that need to be repaired and replace all of the 79,500 that need to be replaced. Add the \$2 billion we already sent to Ukraine and you can delete the word “almost.”

\$40 billion would buy Twitter.

\$86,000 for everyone raped over the last year.

\$7,000 to help care the caregivers of everyone suffering from dementia.

It would hire 50,000 journalists for 20 years. There are only 6,500 now.

\$4,000 to every self-identified Native American and Alaska Native. It’s not nearly enough considering what has been done to them, but it’s better than the current nothing.

ORDER IT NOW

What if, for some strange reason, we don’t want to use that \$40 billion to help our own people right here at home, one out of nine of whom is officially poor, some of whom are actually starving? While the inclination to shovel money at other countries while so many of our own citizens are suffering is nearly impossible to understand, some people (the president, several hundred members of Congress) have such a mindset and therefore must be addressed.

If we’re looking for a country in dire need of, and richly deserving of, \$40 billion, we need look no further than Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, which the U.S. brutally occupied for 20 years after invading without just cause, is suffering from the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world. Half its population — 20 million people — is suffering from “acute hunger,” according to the United Nations. The nation collapsed because the U.S. pulled the plug on the economy when it withdrew, imposed draconian economic sanctions in a fit of spiteful pique and seized \$7 billion in Afghanistan government funds. Biden has promised a little aid, though none has shown up in Kabul.

From the Intercept: “A senior Democratic foreign policy aide, who was granted anonymity to openly share his thoughts on the Biden administration’s actions, said the policy ‘effectively amounts to mass murder’ According to the aide, Biden ‘has had warnings from the UN Secretary General, the International Rescue Committee, and the Red Cross, with a unanimous consensus that the liquidity of the central bank is of paramount importance, and no amount of aid can compensate for the destruction of Afghanistan’s financial system and the whole macro economy.'”

Democrats recently joined Republicans to vote no on a modest proposal to study the effect of U.S. sanctions against the Afghan people.

Then again, we really do need that COVID money.

Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall), the political cartoonist, columnist and graphic novelist, is the author of a new graphic novel about a journalist gone bad, “The Stringer.”

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Joe Biden, Russia, Ukraine 
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  1. Anymike says:

    \$40 billion could pay for a complete graduate or professional education at a public university for maybe 30,000 students. That ought to get the faculties listening. It’s their jobs it’s paying for.

  2. Anymike says:

    \$40 billion would fund a complete graduate or professional education for 320,000 students. Are you profs listening? It’s your jobs it pays for.

  3. meamjojo says:

    You should run for president Rall on this platform of desires. Maybe add Paul as your VP. Imagine what you could do with say \$1 trillion if you were president! [lol]

  4. anon[303] • Disclaimer says:

    Biden’s not giving them anything. Biden is a bribed and blackmailed vegetable, CIA’s most perfect puppet ruler. So please stop talking like a Common Dreams shithead.

    Nobody’s giving them anything. This is lend-lease. With it CIA will fuck Ukraine like they fucked Britain. Ukies will be on the debt hook for generations, so they can be used as cannon fodder.

  5. Anon[296] • Disclaimer says:

    And Yellen is still treated with respect. What does she care of parents having to sell their children? Steal their money. Yellen, the Babylonian Talmudo student of Satan.

  6. Roger says: • Website

    \$40 billion wish list! Make sure you get your own request in soon while there is still money left because the Gravy Train has almost run its course.

    Considering that the only true function of government (if there is one) is to protect its citizenry from aggression, either foreign or domestic, there is nothing on that list which can be considered a legitimate expenditure. As nice as it sounds to promote the idea that our cats should be fed or that college students should be subsidized by the government, this is nothing more than the socialistic mindset that all of us should be forced to pay so that someone else can benefit from our own hard work. Whether we want to or not is irrelevant. Open your wallet, boy, so we can stick our hand into it. Oh, and by the way, we know exactly how much you should pay and who will benefit!

    All of this, every bit of it, is predicated on one thing–that someone has the right to take what lawfully belongs to someone else and use it as they see fit. This can be boiled down to one word–theft. Most people participate in the system of Grand Theft willingly because they believe, deep down, that they really do have a right to the property of others and that it is only correct and proper that government redistributes that property so that “justice” is practiced. As long as I get what I deserve, who cares about the suffering of others who might be harmed by it?

    Everyone wants their own piece of the pie and is actively engaged in making sure they get it by any means, fair or foul, regardless of who has to pay. Unfortunately, everyone has to pay and the bill keeps getting larger, resulting in ever louder screams for more government intervention to “right” the perceived wrong, which does nothing at all to improve the situation but only makes it worse. It is a constant downward spiral which eventually will end in disaster for the entire world in a very real way, and a new system will arise out of the rubble.

    If there is anything or anyone left to come out of it.

    • Replies: @meamjojo
    , @HallParvey
  7. Notsofast says:

    since we’re just pulling money out of our ass, why don’t we give every man, woman and child on the planet a billion dollars? that would make us all billionaires and solve all of the worlds problems, what’s eight quintrillion dollars between friends?

  8. Mac_ says:

    As something of a natural law person I would be at base in agreement with Roger’s comment, and however a few thoughts because the premise of comparison, in terms of priorities, on a personal level in terms of how we think, Ted’s points are still valuable. I suggest copy the list, and cut all but five of them. If you could only choose five what would they be, not anything with schools because they’re brain washing, but otherwise what, more distraction, or what matters, and otherwise think about in terms of sharing, as if there were no govermnt.
    What happened to sharing because we wanted to, and were better that way, and actually safer in terms of the future, and we were tougher and stronger, and had different and creative lives. What if everyone had a horse. We used to you know. They were our transportation. No paying for ‘gas’. The forty billion could buy a horse for most people. We only need a big lawn to have one. To repeat a comment I saw couple years ago elsewhere, if you bought a male or female which ever you didn’t have, and left and came back a year later there would be another one, free. Same with cows. It’s mind expanding. We don’t need their false money actually. We can make our own horses. Thanks for the article Ted.

    • Replies: @Roger
  9. meamjojo says:
    @Roger

    This is a good post but people and society do benefit from contributing to the common good. The question is, where do we draw the line?

    The other day the paper ran an article about how a local small city was recovering nicely from the pandemic and was looking to hire some additional personnel. Check out the high salaries/benefits they are willing to pay! \$105k for a maintenance worker. \$225k for a police officer. Whew! Money doesn’t grow on trees, it comes from taxes on people and business. As those taxes are continually ramped up, the pockets of the taxed get emptier.

    “As part of reinstated spending, the city plans to hire or reactivate several positions, among them a new Human Resources director at a cost of \$246,800 annually, three maintenance workers for a combined \$315,900, two new police deputies for a combined \$450,000, five positions related to recreation for a combined \$310,900 and three other positions in various fields for a combined \$207,000.”

    As to “a new system will arise out of the rubble”, the strong likelihood is that a similar if not exact system would arise because of human nature.

    • Replies: @Roger
  10. botazefa says:

    People can’t comprehend a billion, but they do understand a thousand and a million.

    Forty-thousand million dollars!

  11. Roger says: • Website
    @meamjojo

    “As to “a new system will arise out of the rubble”, the strong likelihood is that a similar if not exact system would arise because of human nature.”

    Quite likely. Human nature does not change. All that means is that those who are alive at that time will have to repeat the lessons of history because they have not learned from the past.

    “…people and society do benefit from contributing to the common good. The question is, where do we draw the line?”

    The key word here is ‘contributing’, which is completely voluntary. If it is forced, it is not contributing. Taxes are not contributions.

    Define ‘common good’, if you can. Unfortunately, those who have faith in the common good theory posit that everyone else ought to “contribute” to help defray the expenses, according to their own perception of what is good, right, and proper. Common good is an entirely subjective viewpoint on which there is no universal agreement. And, as you say, where do you draw the line? Or should we just say that individuals, acting in their own best interests, actually create the common good without any use of force visited on them by an outside entity, i.e., government?

    • Replies: @meamjojo
  12. Roger says: • Website
    @Mac_

    I agree that Ted’s points are valuable, but only in the comparative sense that we could spend that money more wisely. That still doesn’t change the fact that Congress does not have the right or moral authority to take our money by force and spend it in any way they see fit.

    “What happened to sharing because we wanted to, and were better that way, and actually safer in terms of the future, and we were tougher and stronger, and had different and creative lives.”

    Nothing. Nothing at all. It is still available to anyone who wants to live that way. In fact, I like the concept as you have described it. Certainly we are better persons when we freely give to others.

    Sharing is a purely voluntary action and springs out of the goodness of one’s own heart. There can be no force involved. If force is used to compel ‘sharing’, then the dynamic changes from one of personal generosity to one of resentment and anger, quite often directed at the one who is the recipient of the ‘sharing’.

    • Replies: @meamjojo
  13. meamjojo says:
    @Roger

    Common good is by definition something that is generally useful and valuable for some majority of people, say 66-75%? Infrastructure, such as roads, sidewalks, street lights, traffic lights, bridges and so forth is but one obvious example.

    “Contribution” for such has to be mandatory. Giving people the option to not contribute means that there then has to be a way to exclude them from making use of the element, which would imply in the case of roads and sidewalks, not being allowed to leave your house. EVER.

    There will always be a government of sorts, whether it be something appointed or a warlord who claims authority by strength or wealth or both.

    • Replies: @Roger
  14. meamjojo says:
    @Roger

    “That still doesn’t change the fact that Congress does not have the right or moral authority to take our money by force and spend it in any way they see fit.”

    Of course it does. That’s how a representative government works.

    So sorry that your side didn’t have enough votes to instill someone into office who would champion your view of how things should work.

    • Replies: @HammerJack
    , @Roger
  15. “Giving fourty billion”… What a sucker punch of an article. This is recycling dollars at work, white-washing power and accounted for billions to the wealthy. Add it to GDP! Again what a sucker punch narrative as there is one.

  16. There is no money going to country 404. Million dollar Raytheon toothbrushes or some such.

  17. MPO says:

    And we could do the equivalent of the things listed every single year with the US’s annual total in foreign economic and military handouts.

    In addition, I suspect that \$40B a year to the Mexican government would more than incentivize them to completely seal off the boarder including illegals, drugs etc. They wouldn’t let a pigeon fly over with that cash on the line. And all with no physical wall required. In fact, that would actually be a great investment, not an expenditure at all.

    The US citizenry has been propagandized, distracted, and mal-educated for too long. I think the right leader could still possibly start to turn things around, think of a Trump only articulate and with a comprehensive plan, but demographic time is running out.

  18. Mac_ says:

    – few thoughts on Roger’s and meamjojos posts, Roger as you said –congress doesn’t have the right or moral authority to take our money by force and spend it —

    agree on generally, and though difference is rather than saying they don’t have the right or moral, is they -should not have ability, which they claim to have a right based on papers they label constitutions (the constitution is not a contract or other valid claim) and by false claim of paper laws, and people accept the claims, they are using natural law similar to frogs who change their appearance to catch flies, and the flies go along until they’re eaten, though, people know better but ignore the false appearance. They get away with it because people don’t shut them down, so they continue, and;

    and on force, people go along also, such as false police when mostly they only appear after situation, then interrogate the victim, then maybe punish whoever, but mostly not, yet people go along, then also, they let govrmnt invade other territories, to get more weapons built, but most people ignored it, and;

    also claimed to limit what weapons we have, and people allow it, then also agree to ‘tax’, so between those, people agree to extortion or threat. So it’s a problem people don’t question things. A comparison is those at occupy in 09′-10′, as most people sat scoffing, greedily, assuming to cling to ‘real estate’ that actualy has no value, because they don’t have the weapons to defend it, and, they knew the con ‘bailouts’ were wrong, but most did nothing, except the few of us who were against it, and;

    at occupy, sure some were making comparisons as Ted does here, – but over half were focused against ‘wars or other things. The sign I made said – no war, on one side, and – media lies – on the other, and when I gave a short speech I talked about those , and division, that they work to divide us, at the end I found myself yelling – we can’t let them divide us anymore ! No more left No more right No more war!

    .. it was one the few best days. Using our life is what we came here to do, and, too many people choose to let others -use our lives, not enough people say No. Though was good, should probably add I think central location protests are less effective, because it’s only on spot.

    – meamjojo, as you said there will always be goverment, just a reminder we once lived in caves and roamed over fields in tribes, everyone was leader, and life was tough but good, so not always govrmt, also the claim that because those in govmt want to force more concrete, it is not right those of us who don’t want more bridges or anything else be told ‘can’t leave’ where we live because dicators say so, as they continue to extort us to pay for their schemes. I don’t agree with any of it.

    Just mean to say, those in govrmnt couldn’t do what they do if people didn’t let them, they ignore the frogs. Whatever, maybe we can trim back, anything would be improvement. The last two years changed people, so because of more openess of people now is easier to connect so I focus on sharing and info, you could call it socialism.

    Last, just mention Ted’s bit of humor, some for every cat, things can be heavy and a little sideways is appreciated. Apologize this is long. Thanks again Ted, also Ron U. for having the site and also the large pieces he’s written and lets people have free without charge. Also other writers here, hope people donate to the writers a little bit.

  19. TG says:

    Giving tens of trillions of dollars in bailouts to billionaires is just sound economics. I mean, our billionaire class is the one that creates jobs out of thin air, so of course we need to support them!

    Giving lord only knows how much money to Ukraine and US defense contractors is supporting democracy!

    Spending whatever it takes to import countless third world refugees, giving them free food and housing and medical care and and fast-tracking them into warehouse jobs at Amazon and Walmart? No problem!

    What, you want the US government to actually spend money helping US citizens? What are you, a communist? Think of the budget deficit!

  20. @Roger

    Considering that the only true function of government (if there is one) is to protect its citizenry from aggression, either foreign or domestic, there is nothing on that list which can be considered a legitimate expenditure.

    Governments primary function is to keep the records concerning who owns what. And to arbitrate disputed claims of ownership. In order to finance these government operations, taxes, a ?small? portion of “that which is owned”, is confiscated on a periodic basis and used to pay the people who arbitrate.

    Of course, arbitration decisions are irrelevant if they are not enforced. So additional taxes are needed to pay enforcers. Local police, State police, Federal police. The army, if necessary. Enforcers with the emphasis on the “force” part of the word. Just in case the decisions of the Arbitrators is disputed. Secondarily the army can, if told to, prevent foreign interference with local decisions. But only if told to.

    Instead of “Arbitrators” we can refer to the system as “the Courts”. The highest level of court can be referred to as “The Supreme Court”. As of now, so I understand, they are trying to determine just when an egg becomes an infant. They are all deep in thought. I wish them well.

    • Replies: @Roger
  21. Roger says: • Website
    @meamjojo

    When Supreme Court juror, Stewart Potter was asked to define pornography, he said this.

    “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.”

    I cannot really describe it, but I know it when I see it. What a weasel! And he was supposed to be clarifying and explaining why the law of the land is the law of the land! And when I asked you to define “common good”, you produced a statement which is at least as vague and malleable as Potter’s.

    “Common good is by definition something that is generally useful and valuable for some majority of people, say 66-75%”

    Come on now! This definition could be used to argue that virtually anything could be included in the category known as “common good”. All that is necessary for something to be considered common good is to convince enough people that it is generally useful and valuable—like sliced bread or Covid face masks, for instance. Your idea of common good is a completely subjective and individually arbitrary opinion which can be molded to fit any situation at all. How convenient! Especially when you are working with other people’s money!

    Writing about Potter’s opinion, William T. Goldberg had this to say.

    “This simple phrase, embedded in a plurality opinion, carries with it many of the conflicts and inconsistencies that continue to plague American obscenity law. In effect, “I know it when I see it” can still be paraphrased and unpacked as: “I know it when I see it, and someone else will know it when they see it, but what they see and what they know may or may not be what I see and what I know, and that’s okay.””

    Common good: I know it when I see it, you know it when you see it, someone else will know it when they see it, and maybe our views will coincide and agree, but maybe they won’t, and that is perfectly acceptable. The only fly in the ointment here is that you (and many others) are determined to force your opinion onto everyone else by claiming that they MUST participate or else the whole system will fall apart. Can’t have that, now, can we? OMG, bridges will deteriorate and collapse if we don’t cooperate! Roads and sidewalks won’t be built! How in the world are we going to live? Obviously, we should increase the pressure to force everyone to “contribute” more so that the system can be maintained.

    Where did you pull that 66-75% guideline from? Isn’t that simply your subjective opinion? Wouldn’t a simple majority of 50%, plus one, work? Or why shouldn’t it be an overwhelming majority opinion, like maybe 95%? Where do you draw the line on something as nebulous a concept as “common good”? Why, in a democracy, it’s quite easy—take a vote and let the mob rule. Until opinions change, as they will, at which point the definition of “common good” changes as well. Over and over again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Contrast this with theft, which can be easily defined.

    A criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person’s consent.

    The kicker in this description is that this is a “criminal” act, not an act which has been blessed with the approval of the law which changes its designation from criminal to legal. If it does not comport with the legal guidance, then it is criminal. This means that taxation, regardless of the scale or burden, is not criminal because it is legal. The taking of one’s property without that person’s consent has now been declared legitimate because those who make the rules have decided it is so. Paying taxes becomes a moral duty and obligation for everyone who wants to leave their home, because everyone knows that only the State can build roads and sidewalks. Certainly only the State has the power to enforce universal taxation on everyone.

    Taxation should not only be considered theft, but also extortion, because the implication is that if someone does not ‘pay up’, violence will be exercised against them. This is the tactic used by every street gang, Mafia, and government throughout the world. It is wrong and no amount of sanctimonious posturing will ever make it right.

    Thou shalt not steal still is the bedrock principle of human relations, even if the “common good” dictates that a majority opinion overrules it.

  22. @meamjojo

    “I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.” (James Madison)

    • Thanks: Roger
  23. Roger says: • Website
    @HallParvey

    “Governments primary function is to keep the records concerning who owns what. And to arbitrate disputed claims of ownership.”

    Where did this claim come from? The Constitution? Common law? Out of your hat?

    If you were to ask the average citizen about the primary function of government, more than likely, the answer would come back as some variant about “keeping us safe.” I guess, though, that making sure property title transfers, divorce settlements, and wills are recorded properly could be considered as part of that “mandate.” God knows the chaos that would erupt if there was widespread massive confusion about who owned what!

    Arbitrate disputed claims of ownership? Couldn’t this be done just as easily and a heck of a lot cheaper if done in a private system which sprang up because an entrepreneur saw a business opportunity? Besides, when the ‘disputed claim’ concerning income or property taxes come up, the State (arbitrator) always wins. Whatever happened to recusing oneself? Not only that, but then it has to “confiscate” just a little bit more to enforce its decision. Costs of doing business, you know. Sounds like a blatant conflict of interest in which the party of the lesser part has absolutely no possibility of justice being served and then is told to cough up the dough to pay for it.

  24. Roger says: • Website
    @meamjojo

    “So sorry that your side didn’t have enough votes to instill someone into office who would champion your view of how things should work.”

    People who use cheap shots to bolster their own viewpoint do so because they are not able to overcome opposing arguments by way of logic and reason.

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