US families are undergoing a third-straight year of falling income, but politicians think taxpayer money is better spent elsewhere Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream.Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of ‘Midnight in the American Empire,’ How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream.@Robert_BridgeFILE PHOTO. U.S. President Joe Biden (R) welcomes President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House on December 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As Uncle Sam continues to pump billions of dollars into Kiev’s flagging fight against Russia and provide tempting handouts to illegal migrants, why is the average American worker forced to live paycheck to paycheck?

Here’s a question that most people have considered at least once in their lives, and probably a lot recently: How much annual income would you need to feel financially secure? For the average American, the magic number comes out to be $233,000 a year, according to a survey by Bankrate.

To bring the ’99 percent’ back down to Earth, the US Census Bureau released some sobering data that dashed those elusive six-digit dreams. Inflation-adjusted median household income fell to $74,580 in 2022 – a 2.3% decline from the 2021 average of $76,330. This marks the third-straight annual decrease since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, taking a wrecking ball to the heart of the economy.

The bad news doesn’t end there for US consumers, who are now struggling with the consequences of a foreign conflict in a distant land and a wide-open border. Those factors have prompted the cost of living to surge higher than it has in over four decades amid runaway inflation. In June 2022, the year-over-year inflation rate, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, hit a jaw-dropping 9.1%, the highest it’s been since the administration of former President Ronald Reagan.

Could the McCarthy saga be a bipartisan strategy to quietly end aid to Ukraine? Could the McCarthy saga be a bipartisan strategy to quietly end aid to Ukraine?

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Could the McCarthy saga be a bipartisan strategy to quietly end aid to Ukraine?

A significant reason for the increase in inflation happened on March 3, 2022, when President Joe Biden signed an executive order to ban the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal to the US. This decision has had disastrous results for the local economy. Since Biden’s inauguration, the cost of gasoline alone had jumped at one point by 100% (as of September 27, the average price of regular gas was $3.832 per gallon, according to the AAA, while gas prices were an average of $2.3 per gallon when Biden entered office), forcing just about everything else to skyrocket, including the number of poor people.

The poverty rate in the US exploded last year, the first increase in 13 years, according to the Census Bureau. In 2022, the rate was 12.4%, up 4.6 percentage points from 2021, according to the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), a method for tallying government welfare programs and tax credits designed to assist low-income families.

Meanwhile, the Expectations Index, determined by consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions, sunk to 73.7 in September. That follows a drop to 83.3 in August. The worrisome part is that an Expectations Index below 80 generally indicates an impending recession.

An economic tragedy is already quietly happening for millions of American consumers who are now living paycheck to paycheck precariously and who have been forced to use the payment method of last resort to make ends meet: the almighty credit card, with its exorbitant interest fees. On this score, the US economy has broken yet another record, although not in a way that could be considered something to cheer about.

“US credit card debt rose by $45 billion to $1.03 trillion in the second quarter from the first quarter, a 4.6% quarterly increase,” The Street reported. “It’s the first time in US history that household credit card balances topped the $1 trillion mark as the number of credit card accounts expanded by 5.48 million to 578.35 million in the quarter.” When consumer debt suddenly equals the amount the US spends on its military-industrial complex, you know there’s a problem.

Clearly, the US has some serious domestic issues that need to be resolved, but instead, it would rather fund a totally senseless proxy war against a nuclear power halfway around the world.

Washington has given Ukraine close to $100 billion in aid, with more in the pipeline, since Moscow launched its military operation in February 2022. The cash, however, has not only been used to fund Ukraine’s military. Billions of dollars have subsidized participants of the Ukrainian economy, like farmers and small business owners, market players whose counterparts in the US desperately need help, too. A recent study conducted by the Council on Foreign Relations shows that more than $30 billion – around 40% of total US aid to Ukraine as of July 31 – has been financial or humanitarian assistance that is not directly connected to military support. Military funding comes out to around $50 billion.

As if that were not enough, the Biden administration continues to welcome illegal migrants at a price that is more than what is being spent fighting a proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. Yes, you read that right; the annual cost of providing care for the millions of illegal migrants entering the US is $150.7 billion, according to the Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on United States Taxpayers (FAIR).

In August, US Border Patrol recorded 232,972 migrant encounters along the southwestern border, a jump from 183,494 in July. The number of crossings for September is predicted to be higher than the previous month.

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So here we have two concurrent events – a disastrous military conflict in Ukraine and a leaky US border – that are sucking away precious funds from the American taxpayer. It’s important to note that the king’s ransom that is being handed over to support these deranged Democratic agendas will never be returned, not in our lifetime. Instead, it will just be added to the unsustainable US national debt load, which is currently at $33 trillion, according to the US Debt Clock. That is an astronomical sum of money that we or future generations will someday be forced to deal with, and probably sooner rather than later.

What American citizen could possibly believe that any of this government funding has been a good investment for the American people? Well, they’re representatives in Washington, DC, for one. In May, ‘conservative’ US Senator Lindsey Graham, during a meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in Kiev, pronounced joyfully that “the Russians are dying” and aid to Ukraine is “the best money we’ve ever spent.” Aside from discounting the chances that such an “investment” could have towards unleashing World War III, Graham never thought for a second that such funds could have gone far at rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, like that non-existent wall on the US-Mexico border. It would have been a wonderful work program for the US economy.

In short, it’s just another day in the discombobulated American empire, which, much like its ancient Roman precursor, could learn the lesson of overexpansion and overspending in the most brutal way imaginable – with its total and complete dissolution.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.