What neither he nor the Republicans nor the corporate media point out is the direct connection between the new austerity drive and the ever-expanding cost of the US-led war against Russia in Ukraine. While Biden was in Japan, the US government announced that it had allotted another $375 million to arm Ukraine, part of a feverish escalation that includes providing the right-wing nationalist government in Kiev with F-16 nuclear-capable jets.
In the barrage of propaganda over the supposed necessity to slash social programs to avert the nation’s first-ever default on its debt obligations—which, according to Treasury Secretary and former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, could come as early as June 1—nothing is said about the role of military spending in driving up the debt.
In fact, social spending as a percentage of GDP has declined sharply since 2011, when the last Democratic administration, headed by Barack Obama and Joe Biden, followed its multitrillion-dollar bailout of the banks after the financial crash of 2008 with the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011. That measure imposed a decade-long cap on discretionary spending, sharply reducing in real terms government outlays for education, health care and other vital social needs.
Military spending, however, has exploded. Last year, the Biden administration allocated $113 billion for the war in Ukraine and enacted a record $1 trillion defense budget.Biden proposes $1 trillion in social spending cuts after announcing $375 million more for war in Ukraine – WSWS