A Fiscal Conservative's Cure for Imperialism: End Foreign Aid -- to Everyone
May 27, 2018
Jacob G. Hornberger / The Future of Freedom Foundation
Commentary: Americans have only lived under a federal income tax system since 1913. The law requires them to send a certain portion of their income to the US Treasury. Washington then uses a portion of those seized monies to send money or armaments to foreign governments. We call it "foreign aid" but in actuality it is nothing more than government-to-government welfare. The Israeli government then uses the "foreign aid" to underwrite its merciless programs and deadly operations aimed at the Palestinians.
Time to End Foreign Aid to Israel (and Everyone Else)
Jacob G. Hornberger / The Future of Freedom Foundation
(May 17, 2018) -- Given the recent shooting of unarmed Palestinian protestors at the hands of Israeli soldiers, leaving 58 people killed and 2,700 injured, isn't it time for the American people to be asking the following question about the role of the federal government in the lives of the American people: Why should any American be forced to subsidize the salaries of the Israeli soldiers who did the shooting and the rifles and bullets they used in the massacre?
I am referring, of course, to "foreign aid," the federal program by which American citizens are forced to fund foreign regimes that many would choose not to fund if they had a choice.
Even those who support the deadly mayhem in Gaza nonetheless would be hard-pressed to explain why anyone should be forced to fund something that violates his own conscience.
In a genuinely free society (as compared to an unfree society that only purports to be free), people keep their own money and decide what they wish to do with it. Some donate to this cause, others donate to that cause, and some don't make any donations at all.
That was one of the basic principles of freedom on which the United States was founded. Our American ancestors decided that this would be a society in which there would be no income taxation or IRS. Thus, for more than 100 years, the American people were free to keep everything they earned.
By the same token, no one was forced to share his income with others. In other words, no mandatory charity. That's because our American ancestors believed that no one should be forced to be good and caring. If donations were to occur, they would have to come voluntarily and willingly from the income that people were free to keep.
At the risk of belaboring the obvious, the society that America's founders brought into existence was the most unusual in history, especially given such other features as no Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, welfare, public schooling, drug laws, immigration controls, Federal Reserve, paper money, minimum-wage laws, price controls, massive standing army, military-industrial complex, CIA, NSA, FBI, entangling alliances, foreign wars, foreign interventions, and other welfare-warfare departments, agencies, and programs that characterize the type of system that Americans (and everyone else in the world) live under today.
Moreover, no foreign aid!
Let's break down foreign aid to its essentials in order to clearly comprehend why it is so reprehensible.
Unlike the first century of Americans, Americans have lived under a federal income tax since 1913, just as most people around the world do. The law requires them to send a certain portion of their income to the US Treasury. If they refuse to do so, they are met with the full totalitarian-like powers of the Internal Revenue Service, including liens, garnishments, attachments, audits, harassment, arrest, indictment, prosecution, conviction, incarceration, and fine.
Thus, the myth that some US officials have promoted over the years that the income tax is voluntary is just that -- a myth, actually a lie. It's not voluntary because if any individual decides against paying the tax, the feds, especially the IRS, do very bad things to him. That's not voluntarism. That's coercion in its purest form.
The US government then uses a portion of those seized monies to send money or armaments to the Israeli government. We call it "foreign aid" but in actuality it is nothing more than government-to-government welfare. The Israeli government then uses the "foreign aid" to underwrite its programs and operations against the Palestinians.
US officials and Israeli officials maintain that US foreign aid to Israel is justified because the Israelis, they say, are in the right in their long-standing dispute with the Palestinians.
But why shouldn't each American be free to make that call for himself? Why should a person who disagrees with that assessment be forced to fund something that violates his conscience?
Why shouldn't Americans be free to decide whether to send money to Israel, just as they are free to say "no" to the grocery-store clerk who asks if they wish to contribute a dollar to "support the troops"? Don't forget: voluntary charity was one of the basic principles of freedom on which our nation was founded.
Indeed, today there are many Americans who send donations to the Israeli state and to private groups within Israel. There are regular fundraising drives in synagogues and by other private groups across America that raise money for both the Israeli government and private Israeli groups. No one forces anyone to donate. It's all voluntary. That's the way it should be.
By forcing everyone to fund the Israeli government, including its actions against the Palestinians, foreign aid clearly violates that fundamental principle of freedom. Everyone, including people who would ordinarily say "no," is being forced to fund something whether he wants to or not.
Of course, it's not just Israel. Consider Egypt, which is governed by one of the most brutal, unelected military dictatorships in history, one that long considered itself to be an enemy of the Israeli state. The US government sends foreign aid to Egypt in the form of money and armaments, which Egyptian officials use to maintain their brutal tyranny against the Egyptian people.
Why should any American be forced to fund the Egyptian tyrants, especially Americans who oppose tyranny? Why shouldn't Americans be free to decide for themselves who to donate to and who not to donate to?
Foreign aid is really nothing more than a crooked, corrupt racket that the US government operates as a way to control foreign regimes. The idea is to place foreign regimes on the US government's welfare dole as a way of making them dependent on the dole. It has never had anything to do with any concern for the welfare of foreigners. It has always been about control.
Once a foreign regime goes on the foreign-policy dole, it will be much more likely be compliant, submissive, and agreeable to the dole-giver owing to fear of losing its dole.
This realpolitik was made clear just last March by John Bolton, who now serves as President Trump's national security advisor. In an article in the Chicago Tribune, Bolton is quoted as saying, "I've been of the view that votes in the United Nations should cost people, cost countries that vote against us."
To confirm his point, Bolton pointed out that back in 1990, Yemeni officials voted in the UN against US intervention against Saddam Hussein, who had previously been a partner and ally of the US government. Bolton recalled, approvingly, that US Secretary of State James Baker told the Yemenis that it would prove to be the most expensive vote they ever cast. Bolton pointed out, "And we did cut their foreign aid. And there needs to be more of that."
Moreover, in a time when the US government's debt, which hangs over the American people like the sword of Damocles, now exceeds $21 trillion and when the government continues adding almost a trillion dollars a year to that debt, shouldn't Americans be demanding a reduction in federal spending before US officials drive us all into bankruptcy?
What better place to start than by ending all US foreign aid, not only to Israel, but also to every other regime in the world?
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas.
He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education.
He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News' Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano's show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context.
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