CONCORD, N.H. – As the nation edges ever closer to the so-called “fiscal cliff,” advocates in New Hampshire are concerned that a major source of federal spending is flying under the radar in the ongoing debate. President Obama and U.S. Speaker Boehner spelled out their latest positions Tuesday, and Jillian Andrews Dubois, community organizer with New Hampshire Citizens Alliance for Action, says both parties seem to be missing the mark when it comes to a major potential source of savings: the Pentagon budget.
“We are really concerned that we’re going to have cuts in programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that will affect the middle class. We should be looking at all programs to make cuts, not just those that serve the middle class.”
The nonprofit USAction selected New Hampshire as one of the states to run political advertisements that draw attention to the lack of action on Pentagon budget cuts.
Alan Charney, program director with US Action, says $500 billion in cuts are sequestered and will come out of the pentagon budget over the next 10 years if we hit the “fiscal cliff.” Some Republicans oppose any cuts, while the Obama administration proposes $100 billion in Pentagon cuts over the next 10 years. Charney says all sides can do better.
“Numerous studies have shown that the Pentagon can completely absorb those cuts, without any adverse effects on national security at all. So when we see $100 billion dollars, we think it’s a nice step – but much more can be done.”
Dubois says some claim that cutting the Pentagon budget could cost New Hampshire jobs, but she says a recent study by the University of Massachusetts says other options would bring more bang for the buck for job growth – such as investments in clean energy and even tax breaks for the middle class.
“We need to look at what’s going to affect the people the most. It has been shown that Pentagon spending isn’t the best jobs creator we have from the federal government.”
Dubois says it would be better to deal with Pentagon cuts than the proposed “chained cost-of-living” changes for Social Security, which would mean lower COLA adjustments for tens of thousands of New Hampshire seniors.
USAction political ad details are at http://usaction.org.
Mike Clifford, Public News Service – NH