In David Rose’s Feb. 18 column, “U.S. should spend more on foreign aid to better world” he makes an error that is all too common. He says, “The answer is simple: take it from the military” as if “the military” is a just a faceless thing instead of a huge part of our economy. His comment implies that cutting the military budget would have no effect on people.
However, it isn’t that simple. Money given to the military ripples through the entire country. It pays service members, who then pass it on through taxes and purchases of goods and services. It pays for military equipment produced by U.S. companies that keeps the dollars in the country and keeps Americans employed. Spending on the military is a very large part of our economy and cuts in military spending does cost American jobs.
What if he had written, “The answer is simple: take it from Social Security”? It would amount to the same thing, but the vision of hurting grandma or grandpa is more painful than a faceless “military.” The only difference is whether the money is given to a soldier or a pensioner. Either one needs the income. I think Rose needs to be more careful before saying something is “simple.” It isn’t that simple.
Another point to consider: Although our overt government aid to other countries may not meet what Rose thinks is fair, our private giving far exceeds any country’s giving and those gifts are tax-deductible. Those stealthy tax-deductible dollars are not included in his figures but they are still government “aid” to the recipients. For example, if someone gave a $100 donation to World Charity A and he is in the 28-percent tax bracket, he would get a $28 tax credit. Thus, his cost would be $72. The original $100 would go to the recipient, but $28 of it would actually be funded by the U.S. taxpayer. I think the American taxpayer is very altruistic, and may already be “giving” more to the world community than anyone else.
Brian E. Willis
COBRE Administrative Assistant
Department of Anatomy & Physiology