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Here's the reality

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Friday, July 12, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

For all the hand-wringing over the big, bad sequestration, most of the worst fallout predicted by pols never occurred. The Washington Post reminds that prison guards and FBI agents weren't furloughed. Americans didn't get stuck at border crossings. And hundreds of thousands of low-income women and children didn't go hungry.

Positively horrific sequester scenarios turned out to be nothing more than political pander, reinforced by the White House and/or President Obama himself. That's because, in reality, sequestration reduced the increase in federal spending by a measly 2.4 percent, according to The Heritage Foundation. That's akin to dieting by choosing a low-calorie beverage to accompany a Triple Baconator burger (approximately 1,330 calories).

Federal agencies accommodated the sequestration by finding room — in many cases, plenty of room — to cut nonessential spending. Such as the U.S. Geological Survey eliminating $2.7 million in conference expenses, The Post reports. Or Congress slicing more than $250 million from the Federal Aviation Administration budget for improvements at airports — some of which average less than one flight a week.

But whereas the sequester has been an imagined threat, the national debt is a proven detriment to economic growth. What's needed are meaningful spending and entitlement reforms, not the third-rate theatrics of Mr. Obama and his Doom & Gloom Players.

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