This post also appears on The Will and the Wallet.
It is exactly one week until the midterm elections that many pundits predict will change the political landscape for at least the next two years. For those who track budget matters, the question has become, what do the elections mean for development and diplomacy—the two Ds that with defense are the professed pillars of U.S. national security?
I won’t engage in prognostications on the number of seats either party will hold in the 112th Congress. Regardless of who wins, the international affairs—or 150—budget will be under enormous pressure. The foreign operations budget (the bulk of U.S. foreign assistance programs) is larger and likely more vulnerable to deeper cuts than the State operations portion.
The real question is whether an anemic economic recovery, a $1.3 trillion budget deficit and the House and Senate led by parties holding slim majorities will create the perfect storm to sink the momentum that has built up around development? Or will the confluence of events force real reform, to ensure we are getting the biggest bang for our development bucks?