Dear Editor, 3 August 2009
Our Armed Forces are risking their lives and limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect all of us from terrorism. However, citizens are not told that military protection for them is “available”, or that they are “eligible” for it; we do not choose the level of protection that we want and then pay for it individually. It has been decided that all Americans need this protection, so our Armed Forces provide it for all of us, and it is paid for by our income taxes. The amount that a certain person pays is determined not according to the protection he himself receives, but according to his income.
Similarly, all Americans need medical care. So it also should be provided for all and paid for by taxes just as military protection is. Of course, some people need a great deal more expensive medical care than others do. And it is also true that some people benefit much more than others from our military actions in the mid east.
For instance, a U. S. Navy fleet is permanently stationed in the Persian Gulf, to prevent any nation in that region from nationalizing its oil. It costs a great deal to maintain this fleet, and big stockholders in major oil companies benefit much more from it than the rest of us do. But the expense of the Persian Gulf fleet is paid for not just by those who benefit most, but by all of us in proportion to our incomes.
Protection from our enemies is not an optional luxury, it is something we all need and deserve to have. And protection of our health is not an optional luxury either. A civilized nation like the U. S. should provide both these things to all its citizens, and pay for both in the same way.