We need to stop paying for Germany and Japan’s defense

I have said for years that the USA should not pay for the defense Germany and Japan. Yes, there were many reasons that was true in the past, but now they are two of our biggest friends and trading partners and they are on our side. Why should we limit their military now?

I read the article, “Pawlenty Understands Incentives, Except When It Comes to Defense,” by  Christopher Preble of the Cato Institute and here is a portion of it:

…the U.S. government could cut military spending in half and still spend more than our next two potential rivals, combined.

Our European and East Asian allies are consumers of the security provided by the U.S. military, and all Americans are the third party payers. As my colleague Ben Friedman likes to say, we agree to defend our allies, and they agree to let us. We shouldn’t blame them for under-providing for their own defense; it’s our fault for agreeing to do it for them.

Cato President and Founder Ed Crane’s quick take on Pawlenty’s view on defense military spending is worth repeating:

There is a difference between military spending and defense spending. The Constitution provides for a military to defend the U.S—not to democratize the world. One would hope that presidential candidates would consider America’s commitments overseas very seriously before endorsing those commitments.

Cato scholars have been out in front for years making the case for a principled, constitutional view of “defense” that does not include defending others who can and should defend themselves. If we adopted a strategy of restraint, we could responsibly make significant cuts in military spending, deliver the savings to American taxpayers, and remain the safest and most secure country on the planet. Yesterday, Tim Pawlenty took the opposite tack. He argued that the U.S. military should continue to serve as the world’s policeman/armed social worker, allow other countries to free ride, and require U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill.

Although that might be popular elsewhere in Washington, I can’t imagine it will sell in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or Manchester, New Hampshire.

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