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.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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