Over the weekend, President Joe Biden let slip in an interview that the United States’ munitions stockpile has dwindled so much that we will now be sending controversial cluster bombs to Ukraine to aid their ongoing fight against Russia.
Washington’s establishment quickly took sides in a debate over whether cluster munitions — which can go undetonated for years after a conflict ends only to explode in the innocent hands of a civilian — were ethical or the proper method to kill Russians.
While D.C. mulled this over, the rest of America went back to work. They have to, in order to pay for the sky-high prices of gasoline (up 60 percent since January 2021), eggs (up 51 percent), chicken (up 29 percent), milk (up 21 percent), and electricity (up 25 percent).
These are just a few of the necessities that have been made unaffordable since Biden took office. Combine the worst inflation in 40 years with the high cost of living, drained savings accounts, and a national debt that has topped $32 trillion, and Americans are learning the widespread and devastating impacts of “Bidenomics.”
Lawmakers do not seem interested in addressing the high cost of living for Americans, or accepting how much of this is their fault.
If they are concerned that we’re sending a weapon banned in 100 countries to Ukraine because our stockpiles of other weapons are running low, the answer will just be more spending — what got us into the cost of living crisis to begin with.
Every month for many years, Gallup has been running a poll called “Most Important Problem,” where they ask Americans to identify the biggest issue facing the nation.
While the Russia-Ukraine war is the topic you hear most about from the Senate and the White House, in last month’s poll fewer than 1 percent of Americans reported the situation with Russia as the most important problem facing America today.
Instead, the economy and the high cost of living came in at second and third on the charts. And what problem did Americans rate the biggest, more than any other? The government and poor leadership. No kidding.
President Biden spent this week at the NATO summit, pledging American taxpayers’ unlimited and unconditional military support to Ukraine for as long as the conflict endures. It’s unclear whether Biden used this summit to ask any leader from the European Union — a trading area with an economy the size of ours — when they would start pulling their own weight in assisting their neighbor to the east.
The cluster bomb debate in D.C. perfectly shows how disconnected our elected leaders in Washington are with their voters. Do we need to send Ukraine cluster bombs? Or should the question be: what is the endgame here? Our $100 billion contribution has already eclipsed Russia’s entire military budget. When that number hits $200 billion, $300 billion, or a trillion dollars, will we just keep paying?
What we need is for Congress to get real about our dire financial condition and get to work on a real budget with spending caps rather than sending blank checks around the world. That would do more to help the average American than anything else.
Washington’s establishment has long ignored the real day-to-day problems facing its country’s voters in favor of wars and foreign entanglements. The least we could do is stop adding to the problems Americans sent us here to solve.
Mike Braun is a member of the budget committee.