Endless Money for War, Stingy for the Poor

A few days ago it was announced that the Pentagon made an error when calculating its total funding for aid to Ukraine, a country still locked in its struggle against the brutal Russian invasion and occupation. Pentagon accountants apparently overvalued some of the weapons sold to Ukraine, leading them to conclude that it has received $3 billion less in weaponry and munitions than originally stated. Officials said that more investigation is underway, and that they may discover that even more overvalued weapons were sent, leaving an even greater deficit between the originally stated amount and the real value.

The $3 billion is just a fraction of the $75 billion in total aid that the U.S. has already given Ukraine, according to a May article published by the Council on Foreign Relations.  Of this amount, $46 billion has been in direct military aid.

To put these numbers in context, the next largest recipient of aid from the U.S. is Afghanistan ($4 billion), the poverty-stricken nation that the U.S. pulled out of after a 20-year occupation, followed closely by Israel ($3.3 billion), the U.S.’s major military partner in the Middle East.

So apparently, the U.S. can only spare $4 billion for Afghanistan, a nation it abandoned with stunning speed to massive humanitarian crisis after occupying it for 20 years. And because Republicans refuse to tax the wealthy at even a slightly higher rate, in the U.S. we all have to be brought to the brink of economic crisis in order to kick a few million poor people off of government programs.

In fact, the military budget makes the ruling class’s priorities clear: according to a recent article in the Nation, “this year’s proposed budget for the Pentagon and nuclear weapons work at the Department of Energy is $886 billion … The Pentagon now consumes more than half the federal discretionary budget, leaving priorities like public health, environmental protection, job training, and education to compete for what remains.”

The truth is that for the U.S. ruling class, there is never quite enough expenditure for war, while even pennies for human needs are often far too much.