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Should American Taxpayers Subsidize Israelís Defense?
Townhall.com ^ | August 3, 2014 | Daniel J. Mitchell

Posted on 08/03/2014 12:52:07 PM PDT by Kaslin

I rarely delve into foreign policy and defense issues. And when I do, such as my post about the conflict in Ukraine, it’s usually because it gives me an opportunity to draw attention to a topic that is in my bailiwick (in the case of Ukraine, it gave me an excuse to write about federalism).

With this caveat in mind, let’s turn our attention to the Middle East. Unless you’re a hermit living in a remote cave, you presumably know that Israel is locked in another fight with Hamas.

I’ve previously explained that I’m very sympathetic to the notion that Israel has a right to defend itself.

But supporting Israel’s right to self defense doesn’t mean I should foot the bill. Yet that’s what’s happening. According to Wikipedia, Washington sends about $3 billion per year to subsidize Israel’s military.

And now that amount will be even larger because Congress just approved another $225 million to help finance Israel’s missle-defense system.

Congress approved a $225 million package to replenish Israel’s missile defenses with its last order of business before a five-week recess… The House’s 395-8 vote in favor late Friday followed Senate adoption of the legislation by voice vote earlier in the day. The money is directed toward restocking Israel’s Iron Dome, which has been credited with shooting down dozens of incoming rockets fired by Palestinian militants over 3½ weeks of war. …Iron Dome has enjoyed strong U.S. technological and financial support. Throughout its history, the U.S. has provided more than $700 million to help Israel cover costs for batteries, interceptors, production costs and maintenance, the Congressional Research Service said. The total already appeared set to climb above $1 billion after Senate appropriators doubled the Obama administration’s request for Iron Dome funding for fiscal 2015. Now it seems likely to rise even further.

But this doesn’t mean everyone is happy about all this spending.

Some libertarian-leaning fiscal conservatives opposed the added subsidies, or at least wanted Congress to come up with offsetting cuts.

Despite almost universal support for Israel in Congress, the Iron Dome money appeared in doubt only a day ago as Senate efforts stalled after an effort by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma to find cuts elsewhere in the budget to pay for the aid.…Voting against the measure in the House were…Republicans Justin Amash of Michigan, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

For what it’s worth, I applaud those four House Republicans.

I’m motivated in part by a desire to limit the burden of government spending in America, but I also think that Israel easily could afford more military outlays if it pared back its overly generous welfare state.

If you look at the IMF data, government spending consumes about 43.8 percent of Israel’s economic output. And according to the CIA Factbook, Israel’s military budget amounts to about 5.7 percent of GDP.

I’m not a math genius, but that certainly suggests to me that Israel’s government is diverting about 38 percent of economic output for non-military spending.

If national defense is important and worthwhile (and it is), then Israel should prioritize and reduce domestic outlays.

Heck, that’s what Roosevelt did during World War II and what Truman did during the Korean War. If you don’t believe me, look at lines 31-34 of this OMB spreadsheet.

By the way, some people accuse these GOPers of being anti-Israel, but I think that charge is grossly unfair. I’m not personally close to any of the Republicans who voted against the Iron Dome funding, but I’ve met and talked to all of them and I’ve followed their careers. Suffice to say that I’ve never heard even the slightest hint that any of them harbor any anti-Israel or anti-Jewish sentiments.

Indeed, here’s some of what Justin Amash wrote back in 2012.

Israel is our closest friend in a very troubled region. Our national defense benefits from Israel’s ability to defend itself and to serve as a check against neighboring authoritarian regimes and extremists. Assisting with training and the development of Israel’s military capacity allows the U.S. to take a less interventionist role in the region. I am hopeful that American troops soon can leave the region and Israel and its neighbors can live in peace without U.S. aid or involvement.

The last sentence is a pretty good description of libertarian foreign policy: Be prepared to defend ourselves, but don’t look for trouble outside our borders.

P.S. The government of Israel pays for people who do nothing but pray. Which means that my tax dollars are picking up part of the tab. Prayer is presumably a good thing. Just don’t ask me to pay for it.

P.P.S. While Israel’s government does dumb things, the governments opposing Israel sometime engage in truly evil acts.

P.P.P.S. If you want to learn more about the libertarian approach to foreign policy, my Cato colleagues are the real experts. I also call your attention to these thoughts fromMark Steyn,George Will, and Steve Chapman.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Israel
KEYWORDS: mullahlovers; paultardation; putinsbuttboys
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1 posted on 08/03/2014 12:52:07 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

That’s a dumb question.


2 posted on 08/03/2014 12:53:32 PM PDT by onona (I’ve pretty much given up on sanity returning.)
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To: Kaslin

Africa
Germany
Japan
South Korea
Israel

We could stop paying a lot of countries. The order above is the order I would prefer we proceed.


3 posted on 08/03/2014 12:53:52 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy ("Harvey Dent, can we trust him?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBsdV--kLoQ)
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To: Kaslin

How much did we give Egypt?


4 posted on 08/03/2014 12:54:49 PM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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5 posted on 08/03/2014 12:56:13 PM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Kaslin

No. But there are a lot more that should go on that list.


6 posted on 08/03/2014 12:59:15 PM PDT by RIghtwardHo
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To: Kaslin
IMO, no; why?
(1 Tim 5:8)
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Until we take care of our own security [border problems], why should we be concerned with others's problems?
7 posted on 08/03/2014 1:00:07 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Kaslin

It’s just petty cash compared to the Trillions Obama has Flushed down the toilet


8 posted on 08/03/2014 1:00:57 PM PDT by molson209 (Blank)
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To: Kaslin
Since we seem to be subsidizing every 3rd world malady extant, why not help one, at least, of the good guys?

Another way to say that is: Cut off the boys and girls who hate us before we drop the boys and girls who like us.

If the Balloon Head in Chief thinks we need to fund Hamas Spring, we need to give their target a fighting chance.

9 posted on 08/03/2014 1:01:08 PM PDT by stevem
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To: Kaslin

Obama has America funding and arming and training and protecting Israel’s enemies. This abomination must be corrected and Israel’s enemies (who are also sworn to destroy or subjugate their great Satan USA too) destroyed.


10 posted on 08/03/2014 1:01:14 PM PDT by faithhopecharity ((Brilliant, Profound Tag Line Goes Here, just as soon as I can think of one..))
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To: Kaslin

Agree with the article. Israel is a European socialistic state with its economy. She can certainly afford to cut back spending in other areas to bolster Her defense budget


11 posted on 08/03/2014 1:04:35 PM PDT by MadIsh32 (In order to be pro-market, sometimes you must be anti-big business)
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To: Kaslin

Yes.


12 posted on 08/03/2014 1:04:58 PM PDT by MichaelCorleone (Jesus Christ is not a religion. He's the Truth.)
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To: Kaslin

I will support anyone who is fighting our muslim enemies, tax away.


13 posted on 08/03/2014 1:05:18 PM PDT by macglencoe (You see what the left hand is doing, but you should be watching the right hand.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
Japan is a bit of a moral problem; as part of their unconditional surrender to us we effectively forbade them a military. — as such we have a moral obligation to defend them.
14 posted on 08/03/2014 1:05:48 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: Kaslin

My understanding is that continuing foreign aid to Israel was promised by the US at Camp David to convince them to give up the Sinai peninsula. I don’t there was or is anything particularly “pro-Israel” about it.

With all the strings that were attached, and setting the precedent for voluntarily giving up territory, and having given up so much territory, I don’t think it was a good deal for them. They would have been better off without the aid.


15 posted on 08/03/2014 1:07:02 PM PDT by rightwingcrazy
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To: OneWingedShark

I don’t think you’ve kept up on Japan’s military power. They’re fine without us.


16 posted on 08/03/2014 1:07:22 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy ("Harvey Dent, can we trust him?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBsdV--kLoQ)
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To: Kaslin

How about stopping the money trail to Hamas?


17 posted on 08/03/2014 1:09:44 PM PDT by Parmy
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To: Kaslin
It's ok to throw money at hamas (where all of the “relief” funds go to make more martyrs aka cannon fodder) and throw money to countries that use it to wage war on all infidels, including all Christians and Jews in the ME. Screw anyone who just wants to live there without getting shot up, enslaved, or persecuted beyond all reasonable loss of sanity.
18 posted on 08/03/2014 1:17:27 PM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: Kaslin

There are lots of twists and turns to this.

Number one is that the US subcontracts a lot of defense research to Israel. That is, we split our research dollars so that US companies can focus on some things, and Israeli companies can focus on other, complementary things.

Importantly, this avoids the endless efforts of the Democrats to derail, sabotage, undermine, and pork-up defense projects that they don’t want America to have.

This especially applies to missile defense projects, which the Democrats are adamant against. (Their only bizarre rationalization being that missile defenses are “provocative”. Which is just insane.)

It also makes sense to subcontract to Israel to create the Iron Dome system, along with the Arrow system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow_%28Israeli_missile%29

Why? Because they have no choice but to have to test these programs against real enemy targets. This is a lot more certain than controlled range tests. They can now say without doubt that they work.

And the Israelis are motivated to continually improve these type programs as well. What isn’t said is that their technology is available to the US on rather short notice, if the US needs that technology in a hurry, in say, eastern Europe.

Next up, is that Israel propagates a lot of technology to other countries as well. Especially India, with aggressive China on one side, and aggressive nuclear Pakistan on the other. While China can effectively lean on the US to not oppose them in many things, they have little influence over Israel.

So, all things considered, $3 billion to Israel is very cost effective, especially when you think of how the USG squanders hundreds of billions of dollars on stupid stuff.


19 posted on 08/03/2014 1:17:37 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy ("Don't compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative." -Obama, 09-24-11)
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To: All

Yep. unequivocally and without hesitation.


20 posted on 08/03/2014 1:25:23 PM PDT by rockrr (Everything is different now...)
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