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October 25, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Start spending cuts with foreign aid

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Foreign aid accounts for 1 percent of the federal budget, which if eliminated, would offset a large part of the sequester-required reduction in spending. Much of the foreign aid goes to countries with corrupt governments where officials line their pockets or to countries that are opposed to the United States, such as the billions we give to Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood.

When the administration proposes cutting domestic programs, such as those for children, it has its priorities backward. If we cut foreign aid to these countries, they would better appreciate the help we have been giving them and not be as dependent on us. The citizens of the United States need to be No. 1. The administration’s threats for reductions in crucial domestic programs is a cheap ploy to avoid reductions in government spending

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  1. Add the billions given to big oil and coal, the multi millions for private jets and fuel, the multi millions given to Senators and House members to run their family businesses, subsidies to banking, etc., etc., etc.

    Why aren't the people on Main Street getting a piece of the action? Over the last 35 years or so the cost of living has gone up while middle class salaries dropped. Proof positive Reagan's "trickle down economics" is a scam designed to benefit only the wealthy.

  2. I think we should do all 3: Cut defense, cut social programs and cut foreign aid. Sequestration does the first 2, granted not so smartly, but just as the Democratic President and Senate agreed with the Republican House in August 2011. It was a mutual compromise and passed and approved as law. Let er rip.

    CarmineD

  3. If we're going to spend money on nationbuilding, we need to start here. There's plemty in our nation that needs to be built or rebuilt.

  4. Vernos correctly states that favored constituencies get what they want -- at our expense, but like many others, I think fails to admit the 'truths' as to the causes.

    Serving as a House member or a Senator is a lucrative 'career' if one can remain in office for awhile. Let's impose term limits so that isn't a possibility.

    The only way to stay in office is to do the bidding of these favored constituencies so political 'parties' and office holders can stay in power. Let's implement public financing of campaigns so that 'WE' supply a set amount of funding and that is all that is allowed.

    Let's clean out the corrupted, financially compromised cesspool that is the Congress of the United States. Everyone in Congress and both parties are corrupted by this system and if we want our voices heard, we have to change the system, not just the participants of party in power.

    Michael

  5. Carmine says cut defense, social programs and foreign aid.

    There are powerful interests that benefit from the spending done in all three areas. These interests simply say to our representatives and our two parties, that badly want the power and money that comes with their positions:

    'Just spend the money the way we want and we will see to it that you have whatever you need to either obtain or retain the power and the money.'

    Changing the players and or the parties is NEVER going to change the outcome in any way that matters. We have to change the 'game'! Term limits and public financing of campaigns.

    Michael

  6. Remember that most foreign aid is actually spent in the United States on domestic goods and services then shipped or provided to foreign recipients. Food aid is usually produced by American farmers or producers, infrastructure and technology by American companies and services by American consultants. For the most part "foreign" aid does not benefit the recipient nation so much as it benefits special interests in the United States while allowing us to appear generous.

  7. I agree with the letter writer on cutting foreign aid ,but not all.Once these foreign aid cuts are in place we should take this same money and give it to our own states that are in a financial bind here in America.
    We could then call it "In home state aid".This may sound like a hand out,but what do we call it when we give it to corrupt governments who sometimes turn on us?

  8. Foreign aid should never be allowed if there is a national debt in the first place, you don't hand out money you dont have.

  9. "There are powerful interests that benefit from the spending done in all three areas." Michael Casler

    All 3 will have to suffer equally. The key is to do the cuts smartly.

    CarmineD

  10. One of these days Future may actually surprise us by getting something right. Examples of his distortions in his 3:20AM letter:

    In January of 2013 Americans noticed "...middle class Workers made 3.6% less..." 3.6% less than when??? Between January 2000 and January 2013 average household income declined 7.7%. During that period we had one year of a full Democratic government, 8 years of a full Republican government and 4 years of mixed Congress and Democratic Administration.

    In January of 2013 Americans noticed "Obama's fiscal cliff expiration of the payroll tax holiday, which equated to a 2.2 percent pay cut for most employees..." The fact that this expiration was set up by legislation passed by a Republican't Congress and signed by a Republican't President has no bearing on the issue. Nor does the fact that a Republican't House failed to introduce legislation to reverse its earlier action. By Future's definition it must automatically be "Obama's" doing!

  11. A holiday is not a permanent state from the norm. Neither was the tax holiday. All holidays come to an end.

    The payroll tax holiday was not a tax cut, it was a temporary suspension of the tax to boost the economy.

    After the holiday was over, things returned to normal, and the payroll tax was begun again in full, a sign of an improving economy.

    Politician's like to use the term "tax cuts" in their arguments when, in fact, they are not "cuts". We must analyze the facts to differentiate the truth from the manipulations thrown at us.
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Pat Hayes, I am happy you went beyond the oversimplified money spent thinking by showing how we help our economy in the process.

    There are diplomatic and trade issues that get tied to foreign aid as well, which benefit the US.

    We are not isolationists, and if we were we might find ourselves in a much bigger problem economically, including the result of loosing our reserve currency status.
    ~~~~~~~~~~

    We have to play well in the sandbox called Earth, or we might find much more sand being thrown at us than we can handle.

    If there is corruption associated with foreign aid, we must address that and make it widely known why we are retracting from our FA agreement, which should also include clear actions to be taken if corruption and fraud are proven.

    In 2009 we ranked 19th in foreign aid as part of the GDP, with Scandinavian, EU countries and Canada ahead of us. We ranked just ahead of Greece.
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Michael, I agree with you suggestions to deal with the underlying political problems of our system. However, it wouldn't be permanent if left to simple laws or regulations. I think we need to think in terms of Constitutional amendments to rectify the weaknesses of our system.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We need to stop perpetuating our military-petroleum economic dependence. This would create some great financial savings in the long run.

    As I read the news, and opinions, I am more and more convinced we are at a major crossroads in our country. It includes ethical, moral, political, and economic issues at all levels. Some are prepared to move into the future, while others are trying to hang on to past centuries.

    The decisions we make could determine the leadership of the US, or its fall from such influence. There are countries and unions who would like to take on that role, and the competition may increase in the future.

    We must consider the issues intelligently and wisely, rather than in reactionary manipulated knee jerks. There is too much at stake.

  12. One thing is for sure: next election, NONE of these so called "representatives" will be voted back into office. Furthermore, these same "representatives" should NOT receive one dime in compensation for alledgedly working for us in Washington, D.C.!

    While these elected "representatives" are playing a game of political chicken in Washington, D.C., hard working Americans are having to take on more jobs to pay for all this and survive. Utility bills, grocery bills, fuel, and insurance rates haven't gone down, they continue to go UP. The middle class American is a thing of the past.

    Planning for the future has become impossible with the given state of affairs in the United States of America. Any CUTS need to also include Lawmakers and all industries.

    And to set our country back on the path of equality, the US Constitution needs to be changed back, so corporations are not treated as being people. Without doing that, our country will continue its path to its own destruction. Sadly.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  13. By my calculations, $331 billion per year is roughly the taxpayer cost for most the senators and representatives salaries, benefits and expenses.

    Are we getting our money's worth?

  14. peacelily,

    I think you need to show your calculations. I come up with a figure of less than $100M for 535 members of Congress with an annual salary of $175k each.

    A more comprehensive report of salaries for members of Congress and staff members can be found here: http://library.clerk.house.gov/reference...

  15. boftx,

    I included benefits and expenses that include the offices and staff. I wanted to see as much of the total cost as possible, not just salaries.

  16. btw, it took alot of work to arrie at that figure. Not easy.

  17. Absolutely INSULTING that Obama sends additional money to Egypt's Arab infidels.

  18. Retraining displaced workers into auditors and investigators to weed out abuse and fraud....in ALL programs....would result in reduced spending. Recent media coverage indicated there are 40,000 people no longer eligible for one or more welfare programs because they were caught defrauding the program..... Coverage did not indicate how many years of investigation or which programs but the point is there--we have to LOOK FOR FRAUD AND ABUSE to find it--and to save all future costs of those specific individuals, clients, defrauders. I'm not banking the restitution money just yet.

  19. MC: Some of those who benefit from the spending are the Administrators--employees, appointees, and contractors who receive compensation for running and consulting for various programs and departments. Let's trim the costs of administering those programs better run at a lower level of government. Currently we give cities federal funding for many things such as roads, feeding homeless, law enforcement...., with much of that funding having "strings attached." The wasted administrative costs of having city staff, and state staff that "ensure compliance" and report to the feds, and the federal staff to verify compliance....and the fed staff to do field visits, train locals, train state staff...........WASTED TAX REVENUE.