Couldn't agree more with the premise of the article about lifting the veil on the spending cuts required by the sequester agreement which has turned out to be a really bad idea. The problem is that the House got so arrogant that they decided they ran the whole government and you had to listen to them or they would shut down Government and our bond rating would be lowered. Now they are the biggest ones complaining about the looming cuts.
Lift the Veil on the Spending CutsPublished: June 24, 2012
The Pentagon’s powerful Republican friends in Congress are griping about a required $500 billion cut to the military budget over nine years beginning in January. It would “hollow our military,” said Speaker John Boehner. It’s a “national disgrace,” said Representative Howard McKeon, chairman of the Armed Services Committee.
The critics are right that taking an across-the-board cleaver to the Pentagon is bad policy, but that is because across-the-board cuts in general are bad policy. They never seem to mention that the cuts are matched by an equally devastating slash at domestic spending — $500 billion from education, law enforcement, environmental protection, and health and safety programs, among hundreds of others. Both are part of a $1.2 trillion sequester required by the law that ended last year’s debt-ceiling fight.
Democrats seem to be the only ones who care about the domestic side of the cuts, and now they are finally starting to counter the Republican insistence — fueled by heavy pressure and big campaign donations from military contractors — that the defense cuts are the only damaging aspect of the sequester.
Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who has been worked up about the Pentagon cuts, recently proposed legislation requiring a detailed accounting of which military programs would be affected, and the impact on national security. Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, proposed a countermeasure that would require an accounting of the entire sequester. The two measures were combined and passed by the Senate on Thursday as an amendment to the farm bill.
Ms. Murray’s amendment asks all the right questions of the White House budget office: What precise programs will be cut? How many jobs will be lost? What will be the effect on students of education cuts, as well as the impact of reductions on middle-class families, public safety and economic growth? (Mr. McCain asked similar questions about the defense cuts.) These matters were never discussed when the sequester was first imposed after the irresponsible threat by Republicans to send the government into default if spending wasn’t reduced.
At the moment, even lawmakers know only the broad categories of spending that will be affected, not the precise details. In testimony earlier this year, several cabinet secretaries mentioned a few of the specifics — at least 26,000 teachers would be laid off, nearly a million women and children would lose nutrition benefits, 300 national parks fully or partially closed, and large reductions made in food safety and federal aviation operations. The full list will be far longer, and the harm much greater.
Even though entitlement programs were largely protected, the sequester was the terrible result of reckless brinkmanship. It could reduce the nation’s economic output by half a percentage point in 2013 alone. Much of it can still be averted if Republicans would agree to a balanced, long-term deficit-reduction plan that includes higher taxes on the rich. The best way to achieve that goal — shocking both parties into action — is to let the public see the awful details of the alternative.
Source: NY TimesFirst of all there are a lot of cuts to the defense department that can be made and for any contractor like Lockheed to try and blackmail Congress with their threat of laying off most of their work force should be called on the carpet for irresponsibility. Is this about saving the F-22 with the oxygen and maintenance problems or the F-35 which is still overweight for the carriers and other various problems including another stealth maintenance nightmare? Lockheed has lied to the Government so much that they might forget the real story.
The Air Force should have fully upgraded the F-16 instead of buying two new fighters. Lockheed is a greedy, unethical company and has been for years. History details it all from the massive overruns on the C-5 to the problems with the C-141 stretch which my husband was a part of as the lead engineer from Materiel Command for the AF. We still have the model that was presented to him on completion of the program. The waste he witnessed between the C-5 and C-141 programs would drive you up a wall. Sad part is that Lockheed has not gotten better of the years.
Lockheed was in serious problems when Martin Marietta was forced into a merger in the mid 90's with them to give Lockheed some credibility. The Martin people with integrity and honesty for which their company was known were forced out of Lockheed so the merger of Lockheed and Martin became a hostile takeover of Martin by Lockheed and eventually its MBA's who have trouble understanding the defense industry. The Lockheed mentality of today is why there are big problems with the F-22 which production is being terminated for a smaller number planes then the AF wanted.and now the F-35 which is still too heavy to land on a carrier among a host of problems. Neither the Navy or Marines want the plane which is being forced on them. Lockheed is way over budget and way behind schedule but you don't hear much about that these days.
Lockheed Martin paid its CEO and other high ranking executives in 2011 a total of $51,926,028 which as a 20.27% increase over 2010. The CEO of Lockheed who lied to the Secretary of Defense about the status of the F-35 was paid $25,369,641 in 2011 up over $4.5M from 2010. In a bad economy running a company whose F-22 program still has oxygen problems, etc. and the F-35 which is way over budget and behind schedule who told the Defense Secretary they would get back on schedule but have not met the goals gets a pay raise of $4.5M in 2011. Lockheed just stuck it to the American people with the amount they pay their executives with is over 20% more than 2010.
Yet the powers at be in the Republican Party who run the Armed Services in the House cannot seem to find cuts out of DoD? Guess they like all those donations that they make to their campaigns. Cong McKeon, head of House Armed Services seems to be in the tank for major defense contractors along with the Speaker John Boehner.
Lockheed "ranks number one on the 'contractor misconduct' database maintained by the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-DC-based watchdog group." Since 1995, the company has agreed to pay $577 million to settle fifty-four instances of misconduct.
The company who had to pay $577M to settle 54 instances of misconduct and pays its CEO over $25M a year now seems to be trying to blackmail the Congress and the President by threatening to lay off all their employees due to budget cuts right before the election? Part of the fault lies right in the Congress and their refusing to work together in the House for the betterment of the Country. They prefer on both sides to be 'my way or no way' which is wrong. Always blaming the other side for the mess is not flying with the American people. The Senate is finally starting to work more across the aisle which is a pleasant change. No one side has all the answers.
The very idea that you cannot cut defense is ludicrous. In fact, McCain cost the Air Force billions of dollars on the new tanker which has been needed for years because he dislikes the Air Force and he was mad at Boeing who by far makes the best wide body planes. Only recently was the contract awarded after ten years and some of the dumbest ideas of how to fix the aging fleet problem for our tankers. There is no way that Northrop Grumann could win the contest fair and square and sure enough some people at DoD released data to them but not to Boeing. Imagine that!
There are too many lobbyists for the Aerospace companies who wine and dine members of Congress who are then are unwilling to bite the bullet to cut the Defense budget which has been bloated for years. When they do decide to cut, they go after the active duty force and their benefits which they know will create an outcry and so they end up cutting very little.
How about trying something new and going after the aerospace giants that were created in the mid 1990's along with their bloated contracts which are costing the US Taxpayers much more then they should? When you pay your senior executives such high salaries, the money has to come from somewhere. The manhour rates for these giant companies run over $200 an hour for certain positions like Lockheed Program Management which will be rising from $218.79 in 2009 to $245.96 in 2013, a senior consultant goes from $221.62 to $249.14. Who gets most of that? Not the worker but the companies filled with top heavy management. The information comes from manhour numbers of Lockheed at GSA which is in PDF but what jumps out when you read the numbers are that manhour numbers are on the rise when the Federal Government should by in an austerity mode which doesn't seem to affect the aerospace community.
If you don't want to believe this site, then check out Defense Contracting Rip-Off which could be written by a lot of people who have been around the defense industry either working for the DoD or a DoD Contractor on in a lot of cases both. The author would have a field day with the current F-35 if he updated his article but he a lot of good information from the past.
Having been married to someone who retired with 33 years of Civil Service/Marine Corps experience as the Lead Engineer or Program Manager for the Air Force and private contractor experience after he retired from AF Civil Service, there are numerous times during the 35+ years I have been with him that I have seen how corrupt the aerospace industry can be and the fact that people inside the DoD on occasion are bought and paid for but most are afraid to speak out as they are afraid for their jobs and getting fired. That doesn't even account for the Congressman paid off with campaign contributions to protect the Defense Contractors. I have been at events where contractors have talked about how much so and so needs to make sure they get the money appropriated. Their lobbyist know who they can get to do their bidding in Congress.
For anyone to say that there is not a lot that can be cut from DoD is ludicrous because everyone I know are aware of programs that could be cut tomorrow and the DoD would be better off. This threat by Lockheed is disgusting and IMHO their way to keep funding the F-35 which has turned into a nightmare at taxpayer expense.
Layoff threats put Congress on notice
By AUSTIN WRIGHT | 6/13/12 10:22 PM EDT Updated: 6/14/12 2:01 PM EDT
Facing economic uncertainty, defense contractors are plotting to spur Congress to nix the automatic budget cuts set to begin next year.
The plan? Threaten to send out layoff notices — hundreds of thousands of them, right before Election Day.
Congress, industry leaders contend, has left them few options. Federal law, they say, requires employers to give notice of 60 days to workers facing layoffs.
For President Barack Obama and congressional incumbents, the timing couldn’t be worse.
With the automatic cuts, called sequestration, set to begin taking effect on Jan. 2, the layoff notices would have to be sent out by Nov. 2 — four days before this fall’s elections.
“I’ve been told by some of our major employers that layoff notices are going to come before the election,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), a member of the Armed Services Committee and a vocal critic of the automatic cuts. “It’s dangerous and irresponsible for Congress to play with this.”
Under sequestration, New Hampshire could lose more than 3,000 full-time jobs during the next fiscal year, according to a study by George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. Across the country, more than 1 million jobs would be at stake.
Ayotte said she’s hopeful the threat of job losses will spur a bipartisan agreement to prevent the defense cuts, which would reduce the Pentagon budget by more than $50 billion, or 10 percent, each year for the next decade.
“Negotiations in Congress can’t wait for the lame-duck session because there’s going to be a devastating impact to our defense industrial base before then,” she told POLITICO. “A lot of our small suppliers could go away and never come back.”
Without clear guidance from the Pentagon, which has been counseled by the White House Office of Management and Budget not to start planning for sequestration, defense contractors are likely to prepare for the worst, said Cord Sterling, vice president for legislative affairs at the Aerospace Industries Association.
“If there’s no guidance, companies will probably have to take the most conservative approach,” he said, and the number of layoff notices could be “very significant.”
Officials at the OMB had been working behind the scenes to help the Pentagon determine whether certain funds, such as the money needed for the war in Afghanistan, would be subject to sequestration. Publicly, though, they maintain they have not started planning for the cuts.
“We have made it clear that we believe that the sequester is, by design, bad policy,” OMB spokesman Kenneth Baer told POLITICO in a statement. “Congress should do its job and pass a balanced plan for deficit reduction as it was charged to pass under the Budget Control Act.”
Still, he added, “should it get to a point where it appears that Congress will not do its job and the sequester may take effect, OMB will work with agencies regarding planning.”
Excerpt: Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77400.html#ixzz1ypV0wqGl