Why Not Abolish All Foreign Aid?

Americans who object to the Israeli government’s military campaign in Gaza rightly object to the massive amounts of money and armaments that the U.S. government has provided — and continues to provide — the Israeli government to wage its campaign. Why should American taxpayers who oppose the Israeli government’s actions be forced to fund a military campaign to which they object?

But doesn’t that principle apply to all foreign aid? The question that every American should be asking, especially in the context of the foreign aid to Israel, is: Why should American taxpayers be forced to fund any foreign regime whatsoever?

The common rationale for foreign aid to Israel is that such assistance shows that Americans are kind and benevolent. But that is a patently ridiculous notion when one breaks down the foreign-aid process. Crisis and Leviathan: ... Robert Higgs Best Price: $7.96 Buy New $7.42 (as of 05:25 UTC - Details)

We begin with the income tax and the IRS. Under America’s income-tax system, the federal government forcibly seizes a portion of people’s earnings. If someone refuses to pay his income taxes, he is confronted by the IRS, one of the most tyrannical and fearsome agencies in U.S. history, one that wields virtually omnipotent powers to collect income taxes. After all, if the IRS decrees that someone hasn’t paid his taxes, the IRS does not have to sue in court for the money. It has been given the omnipotent, totalitarian power to simply seize the money through garnishments, liens, attachments, and other non-judicial means.

Moreover, if someone knowingly refuses to pay his taxes, he is arrested, prosecuted, incarcerated, and forced to die in prison for his political sin. That’s certainly what they did to Irwin Schiff — and what they are willing to do to anyone else who refuses to pay his taxes.

After the IRS forcibly collects the tax money, other federal officials then distribute that tax money to the Israeli government, which turns around and uses it to buy weaponry from U.S. arms manufacturers.

Where is the care and compassion in that type of system? It is nowhere to be found! The IRS is not demonstrating care and compassion when it seizes people’s money. The taxpayers are not demonstrating care and compassion when they pay their taxes. The federal officials who send the money to Israel are not demonstrating care and compassion. The manufacturer of weaponry that receive purchases from the Israeli government using U.S. taxpayer money are also not demonstrating care and compassion.

This is, in fact, an evil system, one founded on force and one that is devoid of any care and compassion on the part of anyone.

The same holds true, of course, for all foreign aid. Why should U.S. taxpayers be forced to fund any foreign governments, especially when much of the money lands in the secret bank accounts of foreign officials?

The Self-Sufficient Li... Seymour, John Best Price: $20.68 Buy New $22.99 (as of 01:00 UTC - Details) The big reason for foreign aid is so that U.S. officials can control foreign officials. By placing them on the foreign-aid dole, U.S. officials know that foreign officials will do their bidding when called upon to do so. Fearful of losing the continuous flow of foreign aid that is lining their pockets and helping them to maintain control in their countries, foreign officials are more than eager to continue doing the bidding of U.S. officials.

It would be difficult to find a more sordid, crooked, and corrupt system than foreign aid. What amazes me is that so many Americans, especially ones who are struggling financially, continue to support it.

Here is the alternative: Abolish all foreign aid to every regime, including the Israeli government. Moreover, abolish the taxes that fund foreign aid. Then leave Americans free to donate their money to Israel or anyone else in the world.

Wouldn’t that be a more just system? Wouldn’t that system be more consistent with the principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and voluntary charity? Don’t care and compassion come only from the willing heart of the individual and not from than the coercive apparatus of the tax system, the brutal and tyrannical agency that enforces it, and the federal agency that distributes the loot?

Reprinted with permission from The Future of Freedom Foundation.