Many Americans can’t afford groceries right now. But President Biden reportedly wants to send $14 billion in taxpayer resources to Israel via an assistance package to support them in their war against Hamas.
“History has taught us that when terrorists don’t pay a price for their terror, when dictators don’t pay a price for their aggression, they cause more chaos and death and more destruction,” Biden said in a Thursday night speech making his case to the public. But the president’s argument is largely beside the point.
Israel has every right to target and destroy Hamas, after the group carried out a vicious attack on Israeli civilians that left 1,400 dead and thousands more injured. Yet they don’t need another $14 billion from us to do it.
Israel already has one of the most advanced and sophisticated militaries in the world. As reported by Al Jazeera, the nation boasts 169,500 active military personnel, 465,000 reserves, 2,200 tanks, 530 artillery, 339 combat aircraft, 142 helicopters, and 5 submarines. Suffice it to say that’s… a lot more than Hamas.
Relative to population, Israel has the second-highest military spending in the world. It should be more than capable of taking on Hamas without additional support from US taxpayers.
And they’ve already received quite a bit of US aid that should have them well-stocked for this conflict. According to the Congressional Research Service, Israel has received $158.6 billion in US aid since 1946. More than $10 billion of that has come in just the last few years, since 2021.
So, even if you sympathize with Israel and support their right to retaliate against Hamas, as I do, it’s not at all clear why they need more support from US taxpayers to do so. And the financial burden on taxpayers really couldn’t come at a worse time. We are already an astounding $33.6 trillion in debt, which comes out to a whopping $259,000 per federal taxpayer.
Meanwhile, prices are through the roof on many essentials and American families are struggling to get by. In the grand scheme of the federal budget, $14 billion isn’t that much money, but it’s still not exactly chump change. And, as a simple matter of economic reality, the resources we send to Israel are inherently not being used for another purpose to address needs at home. (Or, ideally, left in Americans’ pockets to begin with!)
If he pushes ahead with this move, President Biden will have a tough task convincing an already cash-strapped American public that they need to shell out more for foreign aid when they’re struggling to get by.