Skip to comments.Should American Taxpayers Subsidize Israelís Defense?
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, its 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, lets turn our attention to the Middle East. Unless youre a hermit living in a remote cave, you presumably know that Israel is locked in another fight with Hamas.
Ive previously explained that Im very sympathetic to the notion that Israel has a right to defend itself.
But supporting Israels right to self defense doesnt mean I should foot the bill. Yet thats whats happening. According to Wikipedia, Washington sends about $3 billion per year to subsidize Israels military.
And now that amount will be even larger because Congress just approved another $225 million to help finance Israels missle-defense system.
Congress approved a $225 million package to replenish Israels missile defenses with its last order of business before a five-week recess The Houses 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 Israels 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 administrations request for Iron Dome funding for fiscal 2015. Now it seems likely to rise even further.
But this doesnt 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 its worth, I applaud those four House Republicans.
Im 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 Israels economic output. And according to the CIA Factbook, Israels military budget amounts to about 5.7 percent of GDP.
Im not a math genius, but that certainly suggests to me that Israels 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, thats what Roosevelt did during World War II and what Truman did during the Korean War. If you dont 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. Im not personally close to any of the Republicans who voted against the Iron Dome funding, but Ive met and talked to all of them and Ive followed their careers. Suffice to say that Ive never heard even the slightest hint that any of them harbor any anti-Israel or anti-Jewish sentiments.
Indeed, heres some of what Justin Amash wrote back in 2012.
Israel is our closest friend in a very troubled region. Our national defense benefits from Israels ability to defend itself and to serve as a check against neighboring authoritarian regimes and extremists. Assisting with training and the development of Israels 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 dont 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 dont ask me to pay for it.
P.P.S. While Israels 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.
That’s a dumb question.
We could stop paying a lot of countries. The order above is the order I would prefer we proceed.
How much did we give Egypt?
"We moved our base camp last night and were now positioned literally
within feet of the river. Have been sitting here watching the border
patrol patrolling in their riverboats all night and all morning..."
No. But there are a lot more that should go on that list.
(1 Tim 5:8)Until we take care of our own security [border problems], why should we be concerned with others's problems?
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
It’s just petty cash compared to the Trillions Obama has Flushed down the toilet
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.
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.
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
I will support anyone who is fighting our muslim enemies, tax away.
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.
I don’t think you’ve kept up on Japan’s military power. They’re fine without us.
How about stopping the money trail to Hamas?
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.
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.
Yep. unequivocally and without hesitation.