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Deficit-cutting mania: ‘Doomsday’ to defense budget?

By DONNA CASSATA
August 14, 2011

For the dozen lawmakers given the task of producing a deficit-cutting plan, the threatened “doomsday” defense cuts hit close to home.

The six Republicans and six Democrats represent states where the biggest military contractors — Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co. and Boeing Co. — build missiles, aircraft, jet fighters and tanks while employing tens of thousands of workers.

The potential for $500 billion more in defense cuts could force the Pentagon to cancel or scale back multibillion-dollar weapons programs. That could translate into significant layoffs in a fragile economy, generate millions less in tax revenues for local governments and upend lucrative company contracts with foreign nations.

The cuts could hammer Everett, Wash., where some of the 30,000 Boeing employees are working on giant airborne refueling tankers for the Air Force, or Amarillo, Texas, where 1,100 Bell Helicopter Textron workers assemble the fuselage, wings, engines and transmissions for the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

Billions in defense cuts would be a blow to the hundreds working on upgrades to the Abrams tank for General Dynamics in Lima, Ohio, or the employees of BAE Systems in Pennsylvania.

For committee members such as Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., the threat of Pentagon cuts is an incentive to come up with $1.5 trillion in savings over a decade. Failure would have brutal implications for hundreds of thousands workers back home and raise the potential of political peril for the committee’s 12.

“I think we all have very good reasons to try to prevent” the automatic cuts, Toomey told reporters last week when pressed about the impact on Pennsylvania’s defense industry.

The panel has until Thanksgiving to come up with recommendations. If they deadlock or if Congress rejects their proposal, $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board cuts kick in. Up to $500 billion would hit the Pentagon.

Those cuts, starting in 2013, would be in addition to the $350 billion, 10-year reduction already dictated by the debt-limit bill approved by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama this month.

Not surprisingly, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has described the automatic cuts as the “doomsday mechanism.”

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6 Responses to Deficit-cutting mania: ‘Doomsday’ to defense budget?

  1. griff

    August 14, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Gee, I guess it’s merely a coincidence that these 12 parasites hail from such places.

    God forbid should we ever transform from a war-based economy to a productive economy, building better energy systems or cars rather than building instruments of imperial death and destruction.

    What on Earth would all those bombmakers do?

    What on Earth has become of America?

    • Carl Nemo

      August 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      A spot-on assessment griff. The MIC along with their Congressional facilitators have this nation by the ‘short hairs’ so to speak.

      I’ll resupply a link to the “War Resisters League” along with a pie chart and a breakdown as to how this nation fritters away its financial resources on ‘killtoys’.

      http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm

      We spend more than fifteen other nations combined including the major players Russia and China.

      If our military planners would refocus our military’s mission on simply maintaining a superb homeland defense force and vacate faraway zones of conflict, engineered or otherwise we just might be able to turn things about, otherwise we’re in for a “Nantucket sleigh ride” to the bottom.

      What’s also bizarre is that we must borrow money from future potential enemies such as “Red China” in order keep this behemoth afloat.

      Our nation is in the clutches of madmen and women; I.E., ‘planners’ who seemingly don’t give a damn about our nation’s financial welfare.

      Things are not well in Gotham. / : |

      Carl Nemo **==

      • griff

        August 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm

        Yeah Carl, it’s too bad they didn’t show such concern with our steelworkers, ironworkers, and auto workers as they watched their corporate-friendly policies evaporate the strongest and most productive middle class history has ever seen.

        • woody188

          August 15, 2011 at 1:01 am

          Speaking of the Boeing KC-767, remember in 2008 when the AirForce awarded the KC-X refueler to EADS/Northrop Airbus and Boeing called foul?

          They then awarded the program to Boeing in 2010 Lots of tax payer money funded that faux pas.

          If the military stopped using mercenaries they would save billions immediately. Why aren’t those “contractors” mentioned in this article?

          • Carl Nemo

            August 15, 2011 at 10:31 pm

            An excellent point Woody, but contractors seem to be a ‘sacred cow’ when it comes to MIC related corruption in high places.

            My analysis indicates that nothing is going to change concerning this ongoing thirst for evermore defense related revenues going into questionable pockets, until we experience a collapse concerning our national solvency along with blood running in the streets.

            Seemingly our greedy, all so corrupt leadership are strung out on making money no different than a heroin addict for their drug of choice…no?

            Carl Nemo **==

  2. generalelectrik

    August 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I never thought I would live long enough to see massive cuts in defense spending in consideration. They way we are going about this is insane. The only way the congress can function is for one side to dangle the baby out of a 10th floor window until the opposition caves?!?!?
    Now that running the government has become war, I know it sounds simple minded to sugggest an incremental and reasoned approach to budgets, taxes, and fixes to the economy.
    Fundamentalism begets terrorism. To the moderates in the middle, all fundamentalists look about the same; Insaniacs that are about destruction instead of policy or legitimate ideology. Christian terrorism has the same bottom line as Muslim terrorism; Death and rubble.
    We have fundamentalist terrorists who have seized control of our Congress. Obama has great success with shooting foreign terrorists in the head and blowing them up in their sleep.
    The Domestic terrorists can be dealt with at the ballot box. We have had enough economic shock treatment. It is not working, but that will not stop the terrorists. There is no off switch for crazy.