Jobs are not on my priority list, says a top U.S. official with the Department of Defense (DoD) in a new video on the Machinists News Network. The remark was made during a keynote address at the Brookings Institute, Washington, DC, regarding $45 billion of possible cuts to the DoD budget.
Experts say the significant slash in military spending could devastate American factory production, eliminating more than a million jobs.
“This does not only impact our military readiness by being able to sustain and support our troops who are defending this nation, but it also impacts the industries that supply those troops – those U.S. jobs that are here at home,” said IAM President Tom Buffenbarger. “Manufacturing supports the defense industry. When you start to see layoffs there is a spill-over. It’s not just those who assemble. There is a cascading effect from the people who make things like the wiring harnesses, the raw materials, titanium and aluminum. Severe cuts there spill over to the general community because people can’t afford groceries and don’t shop for supplies and materials they need to run their households.”
Not my problem, says Robert F. Hale, Under-Secretary of the U.S. Department of Defense. “I would prefer that job effects not enter into decisions about what we do in defense,” said Hale. “I think we ought to try to propose and implement a good strategy for the nation and the job issues should be handled – they’re very important – but should be handled separately.”
“I am appalled that a government official could stand before people and cameras and say we’re not going to consider the effect on jobs as we adjust the defense budget,” responded Buffenbarger. “This is a slap in the face to the American workers who devote themselves to high-quality products. And to have a government official say well we really don’t care about their concerns is appalling.”
Experts describe the looming job cuts as an economic national security risk that could tip the U.S into a new recession if an agreement is not made to avoid the impending fiscal cliff. Congress has until March 1st to reach a deal in order to avoid the automatic cuts.