The Pentagon is Not Playing Nice
By April Mays on 07/11/2012 @ 01:00 PM
The Pentagon and military contractors do not want to take a share of the cuts. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, "if the maximum sequestration is triggered, the total cut will rise to about $1 trillion compared with the FY 2012 plan…The impacts of these cuts would be devastating… Rough estimates suggest that after ten years of these cuts, we would have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air Force in its history."
Interestingly enough Lockheed Martin has publicly stated, "We will find it necessary to issue these [layoff] notices probably to the vast majority of our employee base." However they fail to mention their billions in profits over the last few years and low tax rates of 15.5% that they paid in 2010. Another important point to consider is these cuts will not end already existing contracts or eliminate back orders that the Department of Defense has already agreed to, it will only affect future contracts. Thus the claim that Lockheed will need to lay off the "vast majority of [their] employee base" days before the Presidential elections is merely a political move.
The most important fact to consider: the military is in the same boat as many other programs. The sequestration will impact nearly every program that exists. Both Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis have stated that "It's also important to note that even without the sequester, non-security discretionary spending has already been cut in nominal terms for 2 straight years. Under the Budget Control Act targets, non-security discretionary spending is on a path to reach its lowest level as a share of GDP since the Eisenhower Administration."
Jobs will be lost in the non-security programs as well. Just from Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act program,s 26,000 teaching jobs would be lost. Also 1.7 million people would lose access to training, retraining, or help to find a job with the Department of Labor. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 100,000 children would lose Head Start services. These are just examples of the cuts that non-security programs are facing that would have devastating impacts. The question is, should Pentagon spending be spared at the expense of economic security?