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Join the informed, opinionated journalists of The Times' editorial staff in lively discussions at our blog Ed Cetera.

December 14, 2012 at 6:00 AM

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A visual look at federal spending and foreign aid

Today's editorial outlines the newspaper's view that there are no sacred cows in the federal budget, but Congress should try to preserve as much foreign aid funding as possible. Mostly because it's such a tiny part of the budget anyway (1%) and has a huge return on investment.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., is the incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee. She has the power to pull some purse strings.

Advocates are right to hope she understands the possible effects of foreign-aid reductions to Seattle, an innovation hub in global health and development.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the University of Washington are leading efforts to find sustainable solutions to alleviate rampant poverty and health disparities. Northwest nonprofits such as PATH, World Vision and Mercy Corps rely heavily on federal funds to implement programs on the ground.

So what does 1 percent look like? Here's a White House pie chart that breaks down federal spending:

FederalSpending_piechart.JPG
(Source: ForeignAssistance.gov)

Here's a link to a helpful chart by Mercy Corps that outlines the differences between the House and Senate budget plans for foreign aid — and the number of people who'd be impacted by the proposed reductions.

Here's InterAction's interactive looking at what "sequestration" — automatic cuts that would occur on Jan. 1 if the U.S. falls over the "fiscal cliff" — would mean for specific services. Quite frankly, people would die.

Terrifying.


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not mentioned is that federal income is only about 2.6trillion so the entire government... MORE

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