What did the world look like before the British Empire? Because that was what it was like before you had a great sea power patrolling the sea lanes and making it clear that anyone that fucked with shipping was going to get shelled.
I think there's been more than enough change in the world since then that we can't assume its going to look anything like that ever again. And again, safe shipping lanes in east asia... benefit american citizens in ways that are difficult to quantify. Yes, imports/exports... but access to cheap offshored manufacturing goods at the loss of local manufacturing and local manufacturing jobs. Market efficiency realized to be sure, but the benefit of that market efficiency is largely privatized while the tax payer funds the security enabling those profits.
Our reasons for that are complicated and I won't get into it unless I I know you're asking in good faith.
Yes. I'd be interested in your argument.
A better question would be why don't we collect tribute.
Tribute implies coercion and is rarely agreed to. A more constructive approach would be to negotiate funding... it amounts to the same dollars from the same places but is nonetheless significantly different. I completely agree countries that are hiring our security should be paying for their share of it.
I'd also stipulate that corporate interests benefitting from it should likeways fund it. If goods from china for company X flow to the US in shipping lanes protected by the US military, then company X should be paying their share of the cost. The cost of the goods goes up, the cost of the military to the tax payer goes down... so its a 'wash' right? Not quite... the higher priced goods are paid for in all ports of call... western europe, south america etc. So its not solely borne by the US taxpayer. Further, by having the cost of securing the goods reflected in the price of the goods, a market distortion is eliminated. Perhaps it is cheaper to manufacture things in the US rather than manufacture them in China, and then pay an aircraft carrier to guard the shipping lanes. If so we should be making the thing here.
Having the tax payer cover the security cost allows the business to artificially externalize a cost component of the goods. I'm not some free market extremist, and I do think government is in the role of security for its citizens. Securing a shipping lane in east asia? There are lots of good reasons to do that... but it shouldn't be paid for directly by the US tax payer.
You'd have to show instances of the US navy for example interdicting trade to profit US corporations.
I'm not thinking interdiction of trade per se, but rather more along the lines of my example of it amounting to a market distortion; favoring off shoring and corporate profits. The cost of securing those lanes should be in the goods that pass through them, not funded via a taxation back channel.
The US was a very profitable exporter
Key word is *was*. Today we are a net importer to the tune of 3/4 Trillion dollars*. Today its very profitable for other countries to export to the USA. Perhaps at one time it was sensible for the US citizens to secure the shipping lanes, but today, other nations should be paying to secure the shipping lanes they are using to profit from us.
Clearly the idea that the us tax payer should pay all costs of securing foreign profits is even more unsupportable than the idea that we should be securing profits for domestic companies.
* and its even more an issue because so much of our export is intellectual property, which doesn't get moved around in shipping lanes.