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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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