Mr. Trump, explain why America First must mean ending foreign aid and foreign military assistance

Now that Mr. Trump has vowed that the concept of “America First” will be at the core of his administration’s foreign and domestic policies, he should begin to tell Americans what he intends to do make that pledge a reality and why it needs to be done. He should do this before his enemies — and America’s — can turn the phrase against him. On MSNBC this week, for example, Mr. Chris Matthews asked if Trump “was trying to make us mad” by using the term “America First”. Mr. Matthews said that the term refers to Americans who wanted no war with Germany in 1939-1941; he did not mention Japan, probably because it would blur the damning parallel he intended to draw between Mr. Trump, the America First movement of 1939-1941 and the Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews.

Mr. Matthews, like all on the left, is a historical ignoramus. He demonstrates that status, in this case, by not knowing that the great majority of all Americans in 1939-1941 opposed getting into a European or Asian war that did not concern our vital national interests, and would not until Imperial Japan attacked us at Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war on us later in December, 1941. After those events, most America First members fully supported both wars and participated in the war efforts to defend America.

Even Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh — whose reputation and historical importance were ruined, then, by Roosevelt and his coterie, the British, and the Jewish-American elite, and, now, by Israel First and those it intimidates and bribes — risked his life in the war as a test pilot for new US military aircraft, and as a volunteer guinea pig for testing new means of protecting pilots and aircrew from the debilitating impact of high-altitude flight. When Colonel Lindbergh finished those tasks, he flew at least 50 combat missions against the Japanese in the South Pacific and, in 1954, was promoted by President Eisenhower to the rank of Brigadier General in the US Air Force. Oh yes, it also is worth recalling that Colonel Lindbergh was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Mr. Matthews, it seems, thinks there is no US history worth knowing until John Kennedy’s election.

Anyway, as a starter for describing what America First will mean if he is elected, I would suggest that Mr. Trump explain to the electorate what he intends to do to end the vicious and multi-decade economic attack on all US citizens that is depicted in the data produced by National Priorities Project. That information shows that US government’s Foreign Aid Program is giving $2.93 million per hour to foreigners, 24 hours per day, for the 366 days in this year. In addition, the Department of Defense, in 2016, will give to foreigners, in the form of Foreign Military Assistance, $1.42 million per hour, 24 hours per day, for the 366 days in this year.

When the math is done — at least as best as I can do it — these two programs together spend taxpayer money at the rate of $104,400,000 per day, which will come to a total of $38,210,400,000 for 2016. Both numbers are difficult to get your mind around, but, in more understandable terms, the median US household’s yearly income in 2014 was $53,657 — 2015 data comes this September. If that number is divided into 2016’s total for Foreign Aid and Foreign Military Assistance the result is that these giveaways to non-Americans will cost US taxpayers an amount equaling the entire income of more than 712,123 of America’s median-income households. That is, the national government, by giving more than $38 billion to foreigners in 2016, expends enough tax revenue to wipe out the annual income of more than 700,000 median-income American households. (1)

Now, this is madness, and also irrefutable evidence — given that $38 billion could certainly improve some aspect of American life or national security — that the bipartisan governing elite does not give a tinker’s damn about Americans. The US government exists to defend the republic and its genuine national interests, and to govern and tax its citizens in a manner that achieves that goal, does not block the private sector from creating economic prosperity and jobs, and allows citizens to maintain their liberties, improve their living standard through hard work, and keep as much of their money as possible.

The US government has absolutely no responsibility — and I suspect no valid constitutional sanction — to overtax Americans and then use part of that revenue to build dams, harbors, schools, roads, and airports for foreigners; to provide medical care for foreigners afflicted with diseases ranging from malaria to dengue fever to HIV; or to financially support and/or militarily defend tyrannies like Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, or theocratic states like Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states (NB: Given the 1st Amendment’s guarantees, it cannot be constitutional for any American to be taxed in order to pay for the support/protection of Judaism and Islam abroad); to fund foreign civil society, feminist, pro-democracy, human rights, LBGT, and pro-abortion organizations, or to give any US-citizen tax money at all to foreigners — except to serve US interests during a necessary and constitutionally declared US defensive war or for strictly limited periods after a natural disaster.

Among the things America First must mean, therefore, is that tax revenue now given by the national government to foreigners must be permanently redirected and spent henceforth at home to resolve some of the same problems for which it is given to foreigners. And once solutions to America’s genuine and often long-festering problems are applied and paid for, and the national debt is being reduced, the national government must cut the tax rate for both individuals and businesses.

For the US national government, the needs of foreigners and their nations and faiths must never come before those of Americans. Charity for foreigners is a decision that can only be made by each citizen, not for them in the form of a diktat from the national government. Those Americans who are concerned more about the welfare of foreign states and foreigners than that of their republic and fellow citizens are always free to send checks, gold, bitcoins, or diamonds to appropriate religious institutions, charities, foreign governments, and NGOs; to will their fortunes to any of those foreign entities; or to nobly and altruistically pick up stakes and move permanently to some exotic, poverty stricken foreign locale where the can labor or fight alongside all the foreigners they can get to know.

To be sure, U.S citizens and corporations contributing funds to help foreigners are engaged in admirable acts of admirable private consciences, though not nearly as admirable as helping their fellow citizens, and so their contributions for foreigners ought not to be tax deductible. But it is the sole responsibility of private American citizens, private-sector institutions, and, most especially, Christian churches to follow their consciences and — putting it bluntly — empty their own wallets and not the republic’s for the foreigners they deem more worthy of help than Americans.

Endnote

  1. See here and here.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and he helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.