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The Truth Behind Sequester: Taking Money Away From Americans To Send Overseas

sequester and foreign aid

The sequester cuts ended White House tours, limited national park offerings, and are now causing flight delays around the country. Some federal employees have claimed they were mandated to make budget cuts in a manner which would garner the most public attention. Whether or not such individuals were patriotic whistleblowers or staffers with a political agenda is unknown, but one sequester related fact is crystal clear – while Americans are being neglected, billions of tax dollars are still going overseas.

The United States has always been a compassionate country willing to help others in need. As the leader of the free world, perhaps it was our duty to foster the success of others while building strong relationships with other nations around the globe. However, our lead-by-example approach was not successful everywhere. We are still shuttling millions of dollars in taxpayers’ funds to the same countries for the same problems today as we did when I was a child. Nations that loathed us prior to the terror attacks of 2001 still share the same sentiments today, but they are not turning down a single dime sent their way.

America cannot and should not continue to be either the world’s bank or police force. Throughout the sequester debate, I did not hear one politician mention cutting foreign aid first before cutting programs that benefit taxpayers. Texas Governor Rick Perry may have showcased his subpar debating skills during the 2012 presidential race, but he did make several very valid points. Governor Perry boldly stated that if he won the election, not a single dollar of foreign aid would be spent unless the expense was affordable and deemed appropriate after a thorough review. Perry’s statement noting that his U.S. foreign aid budget would begin at zero drew a massive amount of applause from the audience.

federal spending and sequestrationGovernor Perry obviously did not win, and rampant spending has continued despite the doom and gloom President Barack Obama said would befall America due to the sequester cuts. It is only common sense to cut the spending of taxpayer funds that will not impact Americans before decreasing program that serve the taxpayers themselves. The idea of infusing common sense into government actions should not illicit a frustrated head shake or outright laughter. The only way that we can thwart the fiscally destructive path our great nation is currently on is by recruiting and supporting elected officials with a common sense and self-reliant mindset for each and every slot on the ballot – from the dog catcher to the presidency.

I do not doubt that all federal agencies could be run in a far more cost effective manner. Detailing the taxpayer dollars wasted by governmental departments could no doubt fill a daily series of articles for at least one month. The only way to alter the fiscally irresponsible course of our nation is to become informed about budget line items and contact our lawmakers relentlessly. Pointing out specific areas where taxpayer dollars are being wasted is a good place to start. I highly recommend sharing the information with your elected officials or anyone who supports “revenue increases” to further fund entitlement programs and governmental agencies in America. The sequester and foreign aid comparison chart I comprised based upon multiple government reports illustrates the taxpayer funds going to other nations while services and programs are slashed here at home. It is merely a sampling of the cuts to services and programs in America and overseas expenditures. A total of $85 billion worth of sequester cuts are currently underway at a multitude of agencies and public venues across the country. The funding cuts apply to fiscal years 2013 to 2021. The foreign aid figures are based upon fiscal year 2013 spending. Fiscal year 2014 foreign aid spending in all of the above line items has already been requested. While some line items may have slightly lower requests for the next fiscal year, many stay the same or even substantially increase.

Sequester vs. Foreign Aid Comparisonsequester cuts

Sequester Defense Spending Cuts

  • Reduction in readiness of “many” non-deployed units.
  • Delays in investments in new facilities and equipment.
  • Declines in military development and research efforts.
  • Cuts in equipment repairs.
  • Reductions in base services for military families.

Sequester Education Cuts

  • A total of nearly $3 billion in cuts to services for students across the country.
  • Funding for students living in low-income regions include Head Start and special education programs.
  • Elimination of after-school programs.
  • College financial aid program cuts.
  • Decreases or elimination of programs for homeless students and school in “high-poverty” areas.
  • Teacher layoffs from preschool to the college level.

Public Health Sequester Cuts

  • Each state will lose funds designated for use during a public health threat response. Florida will lose $1.8 million, California $2.6 million, Ohio $1.1 million, and Pennsylvania $1.2 million.
  • Grants designated for use for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse will also be substantially slashed because of sequester cuts.
  • Every state will also have less access to HIV testing services and substance abuse program admissions.
  • The Department of Public Health in each state will also lose hundreds of thousands to several million dollars in taxpayer funded federal aid.

Sequester Law Enforcement Cuts

  • The number of Customs and Border Patrol agents, FBI agents, federal prosecutors, and correctional officers will be decreased due to the sequester. In addition to layoffs, some law enforcement officers will also impacted by mandatory furloughs.
  • Funds for public safety and law enforcement officers via justice assistance grants to each state will also decrease.
  • California will lose $1.6 million in justice assistance grants.
  • New York will lose $780,000 in federal public safety and police assistance grants.
  • Texas will see a total of $1.1 million in cuts to police, public safety, and border control grants.

Sequester mismanagement: First White House tours, now flight delays. wapo.st/10tBPgV #ObamaFlightDelays

— Senate Republicans (@Senate_GOPs) April 22, 2013

Foreign Aid

U.S. Aid to International Organizations 2013

  • Asia Foundation – $17,104
  • Center for Middle Eastern-Western Dialogue – $845
  • National Endowment for Democracy – $118,485
  • International Boundary and Water Commission salaries and expenses – $44,996
  • International Boundary and Water Commission construction – $31,645
  • International Boundary Commission – $2,293
  • Border Environment Cooperation Commission – $2,411
  • International Fisheries Commissions – $36,522
  • International Broadcasting Operations – $749.029
  • United States Institute of Peace – $39.187

U.S. Foreign Operations Expenses

  • US Agency for International Development – $1,535,764
  • USAID Capital Investment Fund – $130,494
  • USAID Inspector General Operating Expenses – $51,285
  • Global Health Program – $8,217,847
  • International Disaster Assistance – $980,049
  • Transition Initiatives – $57,002
  • Complex Crisis Fund – $40,061
  • Economic Support Fund – $4,672,923
  • Assistance for Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia – $630,554
  • Migration and Refugee Assistance – $1,885,174
  • US Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance – $27,366

U.S. Foreign Aid to Independent Agencies

  • Peace Corps = $377,295
  • African Development Foundation – $30,184
  • Millennium Challenge Corporation – $903,697

U.S. Foreign Aid for International Security

  • International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement – $2,051,199
  • Nonproliferation, Antiterrorism, Demining and Related Programs – $714,381
  • Peacekeeping Operations – $385,671
  • International Military Education and Training – $106,435
  • Foreign Military Financing – $6,343,885
  • Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund – $850,000
  • Multilateral Economic Assistance – $2,989,277
  • International Financial Institutions – $2,638,438
  • Global Agriculture and Food Security Program – $135,826

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