A fixture of the presidential race has been Mitt Romney's 47% problem: Those Americans who don't pay federal income tax that Romney has described as freeloaders. Of course, Romney has retracted his remark. But if he still wants to attack those who freeload off of U.S. taxpayers, there is a better target: Our wealthy overseas allies.
Forty-seven percent is also roughly the U.S. share of global military spending. Our annual $700 billion-plus military budget exceeds the next 10 biggest military budgets combined. Much of that money buys forces needed to defend allies against threats they could afford to meet themselves. Alliances that once served the U.S. national interest have become a subsidy to rich allies.