The United States sent $4.5 billion to Ukraine so it could pay down its national debt, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.
These funds, which were approved on a bipartisan basis by Congress, are being sent to “direct budgetary support to the Government of Ukraine to help alleviate the acute budget deficit” caused by the war in Ukraine. The funding will come in tranches, with the first payment of $3 billion in August.
USAID claims this debt reduction will “allow the Government of Ukraine to maintain essential functions to its people, including social and financial assistance to Ukrainians further pushed into poverty since the start of the war, children with disabilities, and internally displaced persons.” While these are laudable goals, the U.S. and other countries have already sent billions in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
This is not the only money the U.S. has sent to Ukraine for budgetary support. This payment brings the total amount of budgetary support for Ukraine up to $8.5 billion. The World Bank, which is handling these transactions, is assuring the U.S. that “robust safeguards” are in place to “ensure accountability and transparency in the use of these funds.”
It’s ironic that the U.S. has the money to pay off other countries’ debts, but not its own, especially when the national debt stands at almost $33 trillion, and the U.S. debt to GDP ratio is at 120%. Since Covid-19 spending started, debt to GDP has been at some of the highest levels ever recorded.
While there may be compelling arguments to aid Ukraine with humanitarian and even military aid, it’s absurd to pay off another country’s debt before we pay off our own.
The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com