Tillerson: State Department Won’t Need Much Money After Trump Solves World Problems

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a major speech today. Laura Rozen reports:

As a joke, this might not have been bad. But it wasn’t a joke:

Tillerson said the department’s budget in recent years had ballooned to some $55 billion and was filled with spending inefficiencies. He also said the State Department would need less money as global conflicts wind down. Although it’s not the first time Tillerson has made such a claim, critics note that he’s given no specifics about which conflicts he sees petering out. They warn that new conflicts could easily emerge from North Korea to Iran.

As for the budget ballooning to $55 billion, the bulk of that is humanitarian and military assistance, which is a whole different subject. For the State Department’s core duties, their budget looks like this:

Does Tillerson have a point? State Department outlays did increase substantially after 9/11, roughly doubling from $8 billion in the final Clinton budget to $15 billion in the final Bush budget. Was that too much? Should it be cut back now that our wars in the Middle East are kinda sorta winding down? Maybe. I’d sure like to hear someone actually make the case, though, rather than just tossing out a phony number and pretending that it’s justification enough.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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