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Well, isn't this generous of them. Defense contractors say they'd be perfectly willing to accept tax increases and entitlement cuts for others, as long as their bloated budgets aren't cut. They're hoping to avoid cuts to defense programs scheduled to go into effect at the end of the year under the budget deal Congress negotiated with the White House last year. If budget agreements aren't made this fall or in the lame duck session, automatic cuts will kick in, slashing defense as well as various domestic programs. What they really want is to push the pain off onto others.
A House Armed Services Committee hearing two weeks ago first exposed the rift. Under questioning from Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ), two major defense contractors acknowledged that the GOP’s refusal to consider higher revenues was not conducive to solving the looming budget crisis.

“I think everything’s gotta be on the table at this point, now,” said a reluctant David Hess, President of Pratt & Whitney — a subsidiary of United Technologies. [...]

“We’re not endorsing any particular bill out there or saying what tax or entitlement should be changed,” said Alexis Allen, spokeswoman for the Aerospace Industries Association, in a Thursday phone interview. “We do think that everything should be on the table at this point. We do need a solution. It’s really quite urgent at this point and we think Congress needs to do what it was elected to do.”

They've talked about tax hikes. They've talked about entitlement cuts, but defense cuts don't seem to be making it to their table. And yet, they receive praise from Democrat Andrews.
“I was very pleased with that answer,” Andrews told TPM in a hallway interview Thursday. “I think the defense leaders have been really public spirited and open-minded about this, and I think they’re acting very responsibly and I trust and hope that they will speak favorably about a balanced approach that includes revenue and spending cuts that neither side wants but that will avoid the sequester and reduce the deficit.”
How can it be "public spirited" when they're offering up tax increases on other people and cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to avoid deep defense cuts? That sounds more like passing the buck. And it's certainly not in tune with public opinion. Last winter, a CBS/NYT poll found overwhelming majorities calling for cutting military spending (52 percent) over cutting Social Security (13 percent) or Medicare (15 percent). Cutting defense spending is consistently supported by the public, as much as protecting seniors from benefit cuts is a priority.

It's fine that a traditionally Republican constituency is saying Republicans should be willing to raise taxes. But they sure as hell aren't in the running for citizen of the year because they're doing it to avoid the pain of cuts to their own budgets.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    "There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning." —Warren Buffett

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:34:53 AM PDT

  •  Sounds like somebody... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gemina13, Stwriley

    ...is in somebody's pocket...

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:36:42 AM PDT

  •  Heaven forfend that the U.S. would get rid... (12+ / 0-)

    ...of a few Cold War relics disguised as new and advanced weaponry (F-22, to offer just one example) and cut out a hunk of the thousand or so overseas bases maintained to keep the empire ... uh ... imperial.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:43:44 AM PDT

    •  Or the Abrahms tank - Pentagon doesn't want it, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gemina13, JML9999, Stwriley

      but Congress is going to fund it anyway.

      Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

      by absdoggy on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 08:24:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Didn't Tom Brokaw (0+ / 0-)

      Used to do a piece called "Fleecing of America", where he described military waste? Or was that Jennings?

      Where are these guys?

      No Jesus, Know Peace

      by plok on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:26:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Problem is, it isn't about the stuff... (0+ / 0-)

      at this point it's about the jobs that these defense contractors represent. It's all part of our current system of Military Keynesianism, one we should have been shifting away from for other forms of Keynesianism by now (I still contend that Obama had meant to use alternative energy investment in part to convert defense contractors/jobs into energy equipment and infrastructure development jobs.) That's the thing many people miss when talking about the defense budget.

      Not only do we have the influence of money on individual Congresspersons and the Republican fetish for big guns, but the position of many Congresspersons is also constrained by the need to keep the jobs at their local defense establishment (base, service contractor, defense contractor, etc.) intact. It's the only one of those three motives that has any legitimacy, since it's actually serving their constituents as well as the companies involved. It also makes cutting any weapons or other contracting program much more difficult, since every single Congressperson, regardless of party, will logroll with his colleagues to keep his own district's jobs safe. It's a process as old as Congress itself and the only way to short-circuit it is to provide an alternative that divorces the "military" part from the "Keynesianism" part.

      So, while we certainly don't need all the piles of hardware that our defense contractors keep producing, we won't see any attempt to cut the defense budget by a significant amount actually succeed until we fix the job part of this political equation.

      Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

      by Stwriley on Wed Aug 08, 2012 at 05:57:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course they are arguing for their own interests (4+ / 0-)

    but also, of course, for their employees, as significant cuts to what goes to defense contractors mean those defense contractors will lay off employees -- just as state and local governments do when revenues to them are cut, and just like any other business does when their work is dramatically scaled back.

    Sequestration was a stupid thing -- kicking the can down the road because Congress can't do its job and pass legislation.  The only good thing is that when ALL the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, (1) that will give us a big shot of revenue (even though most of it will come from families under $250,000) and (2) that may finally spur Congress to do the serious re-vamping of the tax code that everyone agrees needs to be done.  

    •  defense needs to be cut - for a variety of reasons (8+ / 0-)

      Its an addiction, a parasite, that is killing the host.  Our defense budget is so far out of whack that it pollutes our very thinking as a society.  I don't believe in pitting one sector of jobs against another, but if the choice is public sector employees and public works project vs. defense spending than give me public sector employees and public work projects every time.  

      •  The thing is that cuts in the defense budget won't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stwriley

        translate to jobs in another sector.  Won't work that way. Whole idea is to spend less money not the same amount.  

        Romney is George W. Bush without brains.

        by thestructureguy on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:37:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are half-right (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thestructureguy, Stwriley

          Military spending is a Keynsian stimulus. Assuming they just give the savings to the 1% then it would reduce GNP - i.e. reduce consumption.

          But if they cut systems and people, and then re-allocated the money to reasonable domestic initiatives, like improving mass transit and adding teachers to inner-city schools.  Even reducing taxes on the middle class would be stimulative.

          •  Not if they want to reduce the deficit and that is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Stwriley

            the goal of the automatic cuts.  It's like the tax cuts expiring. Yes lots of revenue would pour in but it won't go back out.  Just goes to reducing the deficit. We might see our credit risk get a little better but that's it. However, Congress never saw a dollar they couldn't spend. It would be political suicide to cut jobs and then turn around and then increase social spending.  

            Romney is George W. Bush without brains.

            by thestructureguy on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 09:40:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  rexxxnyc - but that's not the plan (0+ / 0-)

            The plan is to cut spending, not re-allocate it to another area that has better velocity.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Thu Aug 09, 2012 at 05:39:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  At least you acknowledge that the expiration.... (0+ / 0-)

      ...of the Tax Cuts will negatively impact the working and middle-class.

      In fact, over 75% of the tax cuts accrue to the working and middle-class.

      This is lost on most of the center-left community.

      Also, let's not forget that President Obama's FICA suspension expires at the end of the year.   If you make 60K a year, that amounts to a 1,200 tax hike.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:48:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The tax cuts are not going to be allowed (0+ / 0-)

      to all expire at once--it's unclear how they'll work it this time but there is fairly universal agreement that letting the tax cuts all expire at once would cause a recession even without the spending cuts. Some kind of deal is going to be worked out after the election--if Obama wins, the Republicans are going to have to face up to having to deal with him for another four years. As for Congress, we'll have to see who has control of what. Even if a deal isn't reached by the end of the year, the next Congress could enact a plan to extend some of the tax cuts retroactively.

      What really needs to be done is for Congress to come up with a new tax plan that gradually raises rates instead of having them suddenly go way up. If taxes go up or down a little bit most people don't even notice (like many didn't notice the "making work pay" credit).

      "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

      by Alice in Florida on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:55:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We have to hope this becomes a campaign issue... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, vigilant meerkat, Gemina13

    because defense contractors don't want the bloated DOD budget talked about and negotiated in the public eye, they like dealmaking in Washington back rooms where lobbyist money can flow freely.  

    I'd love for them to have to defend their near trillion dollar DOD budget.  US spends 6x what #2 China does, 10x what Russia spends, 100x what Iran spends.  

  •  And the GOP will try and defend it as jobs... (4+ / 0-)

    But the GOP wouldn't spend a penny to keep police, fire, teachers because it would add to the deficit, and they all but destroyed the US Postal service and will end up cutting 100,000 jobs from it because it cannot be afforded.  

    Only way to break the back of the M-I-C is to have a very public discussion on it's unquestioned funding.  Funding shot up when fighting two wars, now wars are winding down and they want to keep their funding levels anyways and create a new boogeyman in Iran to justify their existence.  

  •  That is what we'll get. (5+ / 0-)

    The MIC is in control.

    "The Global War on Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:58:40 AM PDT

  •  War profits tax (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gemina13, sjburnman

    Glad they want to increase taxes.  How about a 90% tax on their profits?   Or let's scale the tax to the threat.  The louder they screech threat the higher the patriotic war profits tax gets.

  •  Ike warned us, didn't he? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wsexson

    52 years ago now.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:16:52 PM PDT

  •  "Defense"? Let's call them "military" contractors (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sjburnman, Magnifico, CarolinNJ

    There's really not a lot of defense going on here.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:17:14 PM PDT

  •  Beat those swords into TriCare (5+ / 0-)

    for our returning troops.   They will need it, especially for PTSD.

    "Help me to be, to think, to act what is right because it is right; make me truthful, honest, and honorable in all things; make me intellectually honest for the sake of right and honor and without thought of reward to me." [Robert E. Lee]

    by SpamNunn on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:17:50 PM PDT

  •  Wonder what percentage of (0+ / 0-)

    Andrew's donor dollars are from the defense industry.

  •  NPR (0+ / 0-)

    Did a good report on this. The Pentagon has not prepared or budgeted for impending cuts. They're assuming they will not occur.
    Their budget has increased 50% in ten years and they do not accept that they will have to make cuts.

    No Jesus, Know Peace

    by plok on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:24:43 PM PDT

  •  Like everyone, I get excited about the Mars car (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa

    but it is time to take a look at some of this spending on space, defense, foreign aid, and "homeland security". Note that when the police faced demonstrators in Anaheim recently, they had equipment resembling that used by our troops in Afghanistan.

    I review federal funding opportunities posted by Grants.gov every day, and am constantly disturbed by what I see. (At some point I'm going to post some of these for general Kos consumption.)  I myself am looking for funding for mental health, domestic violence prevention, and other domestic social services. These, of course, are constantly being cut.

    "When you give back all your ill-gotten gains, you're a reformed crook. When you keep most of the loot and only give back a small part of it, you're a philanthropist." - Alfred E. Newman

    by Abstract668 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:27:46 PM PDT

  •  we definitely live in "Dog eat Dog" times (0+ / 0-)

    and some dogs are bigger than others.  

    That is America, in 25 words or less.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:29:30 PM PDT

  •  To Clarify: (0+ / 0-)

    when the Generals and their lackeys in congress start screaming and moaning about "defense cuts", are they referring to "cuts" in the automatic increases they get every year-- or are they referring to the actual meat of their bloated budget?

    because the former aren't actually cuts.

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:34:18 PM PDT

  •  Must be prepared to counter the jobs lost (0+ / 0-)

    when the defense budget is cut.  That is the first thing that goes.  

    Romney is George W. Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:34:58 PM PDT

  •  andrews is awful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CarolinNJ, Laconic Lib

    it's a pity we haven't been able to do anything about him in a primary.  I think he needs to go,

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:44:37 PM PDT

    •  He never gets a legitimate primary opponent. (0+ / 0-)

      Andrews is extremely popular.  He keeps his head down and doesn't make the kinds of waves that draw hostile attention.  You would have to be paying very close attention to specific bills to see Andrews œuvre.  And even then, you'd have to be fairly knowledgeable about the implications and extended outcomes of the bills. Pretty heavy lifting for people who have lives to live apart from politics and policy.

      We don't all have careers working in the mix of policy and politics.  I'm thoroughly fed up with the snotty condescension of the professional political class going on about low information voters.  How about you come out and tune up my car?  Set up the books for my business?  Install and tune a recording studio?  Spec out the gear for an animation shop?  Design a whole property watering system?  You know, show your ass on something else.  I know, just the ticket, OR nurse.  There you go, into the OR and show us your expertise.

      Furious Activity Is No Substitute for Understanding Rev. H.H. Williams, Bishop of Carlyle, 1861

      by CarolinNJ on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 08:14:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  remind me again why we are asking defense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    contractors about the budget and entitlements???

    what the hell?

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:56:47 PM PDT

  •  arms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    arms and banking fraud, our only 2 chief exports this century it seems.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 07:58:44 PM PDT

  •  What we need are intelligent cuts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cynic in seattle, Senor Unoball

    the sequestration would be a mess if it went ahead as it is currently supposed to--as things stand, it's not even possible really to choose what to cut and what not to cut, everything is supposed to be cut 10%. There are probably a lot of weapons systems that should be cut 100% and other programs that should be left alone or even expanded (like mental health care for vets).

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Tue Aug 07, 2012 at 08:00:18 PM PDT

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