Just great. Really.

4 Oct

Another pick-me-up from the New York Times:

America’s budget crisis at home is forcing the first significant cuts in overseas aid in nearly two decades, a retrenchment that officials and advocates say reflects the country’s diminishing ability to influence the world…

There is a democratic awakening in places that have never dreamed of democracy,” Mrs. Clinton said on Friday. “And it is unfortunate that it’s happening at a historic time when our own government is facing so many serious economic challenges, because there’s no way to have a Marshall Plan for the Middle East and North Africa.”

With the administration and Congress facing a deadline for still deeper cuts in spending, government programs across the board face the ax, from public education to the military, but proposed cuts to the State Department and foreign aid come on top of an $8 billion reduction in April, the single largest cut to any one department under the deal that kept the government from shutting down.

Full article here.

Great! Finally we can get that 0.95% of our budget back and fix this darned economy. And its pretty awesome that, while there will be cuts across the board at the Department of State, some forward thinking congress persons have decided to ban all funding to organizations that carry out needle exchanges (here is why they are bad), provide access to abortions (here is why providing access to abortions is bad), or are the UN, WHO, Human Rights Council, or World Bank. Oh, and a clever little addition,

The Republicans also attach conditions on aid to Pakistan, Egypt and the Palestinians, suspending the latter entirely if the Palestinians succeed in winning recognition of statehood at the United Nations. However, one of the largest portions of foreign aid — more than $3 billion for Israel — is left untouched in both the House and Senate versions, showing that, even in times of austerity, some spending is inviolable.

Check out this article on American misperceptions of foreign aid spending.

Full disclosure: My new job is largely funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, which gets its funding from the DOS…so its no wonder I’m a little pissy.

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