2023 Begins With a $1.7 Trillion Theft
The Federal Reserve has been oddly quiet this holiday season. However, members of congress have not. Only a few days before the new year, on December 29, President Biden signed the $1.7 trillion government funding bill known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023.
So, what do you get for $1.7 trillion these days?
The answer is not much, if you’re an American, as explained in the 53-page Summary of Appropriations Provisions by Subcommittee provided by the House Committee on Appropriations. Reading through the document reveals more Alphabet Soup Agencies than one thought possible, a whole host of foreign aid packages, as well as billions marked for Ukraine.
Continuing with the long-standing tradition of using public resources to fund special interests:
…the package includes $27.9 billion as part of the fourth Ukraine supplemental…
It’s almost meant to be confusing as the summary of this Act cites other Acts, so it’s difficult to determine the total amount being sent to Ukraine. For example:
The Additional Ukraine Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2023, provides $45 billion in emergency funding to support the Ukrainian people, defend global democracy in the wake of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, and for other purposes.
This is in addition to last year’s funding, which according to the Council on Foreign Relations:
In 2022, the Biden administration and the U.S. Congress have directed nearly $50 billion in assistance to Ukraine…
Determining just how much money has, and will, ultimately be sent to Ukraine might take some time to figure out, as the war has yet to be won.
With each turn of the page the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 reveals startling insights into how the government plans to spend $1.7 trillion of public money. Consider the section where it lists “support for U.S. allies, partners, and programs,” such as:
Venezuela: Recommends $50 million for democracy programs, as well as funding to support Venezuelan migrants in third countries.
Which pales in comparison to:
Colombia: Recommends $487 million, including $37.5 million for rule of law and human rights activities and $40 million to enhance security in rural municipalities with high coca production or levels of illicit activities.
It seems the War on Drugs also has yet to be won.
Then there are the usual amounts to keep the State Apparatus running: $858 billion in defense, $158.3 billion for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, i.e., food stamps), $4.25 billion for the patent office, $3.5 billion for the FDA, $1.75 billion for the ATF, and don’t forget:
The bill includes $12.3 billion for the IRS.
Unfortunately there is little comfort to offer. But if there is any consolation, the US Congress website provides the phone number of state representatives and senators.
It would be nice to talk to them. Ask them about their thoughts on a multitude of issues, such as how they decided to fund which countries, programs, and how they arrived at the amounts. Then consider how much more difficult this would be if the Fed wasn’t ready to create US dollars, buy US debt, and intervene in the market at a moment's notice, amongst other things…