The Washington Post

The State Department: Creating good American jobs

Federal agencies are rightly worried about their budget these days. The State Department has come up with what appears to be a winning strategy.

Women cannery workers, a WPA depression-era project — before the State Department became a job-creating machine. (WPA/AP)

Number one on the list is: “We create American jobs.” How does that work?

“We directly support 20 million U.S. jobs,” the department says, “by promoting new and open markets for U.S. firms, protecting intellectual property, negotiating new U.S. airline routes worldwide” and so on.

(Seem like a bit of indirect “creation” might be going on here -- maybe the FactChecker should look into this.)

And the department does this — and lots of other things, like looking out for U.S. citizens in trouble abroad (that’s #2) — for peanuts, “just over one percent of the entire federal budget.”

The Department’s budget is a piddling $47 billion. So let’s see, that comes to only $2,350 to “support” each job. A fantastic stimulus package. The Democrats running the Senate aren’t about to cut the department. And the GOP-controlled House is hardly going to cut this job-creating juggernaut.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.


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