The “sequester” — automatic across-the-board federal government spending cuts that appears to be inevitable come March 1 — will hurt domestic discretionary spending very badly, so the poorest, youngest, oldest, weakest and sickest Americans’ plight will be significantly worse. According to the White House, 70,000 children of low income families will be kicked out of Head Start. Six hundred thousand mothers and their kids will lose WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutritional assistance. Over 100,000 formerly homeless people would lose their subsidized housing.
Not a pretty picture, which is why so many people, including many in Congress, would like to see a last minute deal to avoid sequestration, though that seems unlikely at this point in our embarrasingly polarized do-nothing nation’s capital.
The other side of this is the Pentagon budget, which accounts for 57% of federal discretionary spending. The weeping and wailing by the Pentagon, armed services and weapons corporations over the cuts they’d need to absorb is absurd. Our good friends at the National Priorities Project have a great fact sheet analyzing Pentagon spending, comparing it to human needs cuts and global military expenditures (the U.S. spends almost as much as the rest of the world combined on weapons and war).
On the corporate side, the Boeing Corporation is mostly known for its civilian airline business, but it’s also the second largest weapons contractor on Earth, behind only Lockheed Martin (Boeing is the main contractor on the exorbitant fraud known as “missile defense”). While military contractors have been disengenously alarmist about job cuts due to sequestration, since they’ve been cutting jobs while racking up increased profits for years, Boeing noted that it had lost 9,000 “defense” jobs out of a 60,000 person workforce, but about 8,000 of those had switched over to civilian aircraft work.
But this is what really caught my eye – the “defense backlog” of Pentagon contracts to Boeing is $71 billion.
That’s more than the entire military budgets of every country on the planet except the United States and China, and roughly equal to Russia’s entire military budget.
So there’s no reason to shed any tears for Boeing or the other giant weapons contractors. But there are billions of good reasons to support cutting the Pentagon budget, including getting involved in the February 27 Pull the Pork from the Pentagon actions around the country!