On Sunday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell appeared on CNN to urge Congress to avert automatic cuts to the defense budget which, absent legislative action, will fall at the end of this year.
About an hour ago New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte appeared downtown headlining the release of an Aerospace Industries Association study on job losses due to sequestration. They came up with a grand total of around 1.5 million, which presumably includes the massive layoffs Lockheed Martin has been threatening. The number has been disputed by experts. But if keeping a million-odd more government-subsidized employees on the job wasn’t reason enough to extend the prior level of appropriations (think of the job creation!), this AIA website is chock-full of reasons why we should continue to spend four percent of America’s GDP on the military. Strangely, the stock price of the lobbying group’s constituent companies isn’t listed as one.
In Ayotte and McDonnell we have the all-too-common betrayal of otherwise fiscally prudent Republicans who get squeamish at the mere whiff of a reduction in Pentagon spending; mention reducing the DoD budget back to 2005 or 2007 levels, as sequestration would do, and suddenly the Army becomes an untouchable government jobs program.
Ayotte is a centrist Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has never been much of a deficit hawk. McDonnell on the other hand, as governor of the state that benefits most from defense appropriations, really wants to keep that military-industrial pork going.
Kelley Vlahos on the military-as-jobs-program. Elsewhere in defense spending, Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) and Barney Frank (D-MA) will introduce an amendment that would freeze defense spending for FY 2013, reducing the appropriation in the initial bill by $1.1 billion. With the amendment the budget would still provide $2 billion more than the Pentagon requested, but would keep funding at current levels. And the House Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on the impact of sequestration.
Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg on “The Republicans’ Most Hypocritical Economic Argument.”