By Ann Belser
Estimates that military budget cuts are going to cost the country one million jobs are overblown and being pushed by lobbyists for the military-industrial complex, military analyst William Hartung told an audience at the University of Pittsburgh Thursday.
Pennsylvania should feel less pain from military sequestration budget cuts than other states, he said, adding that an equal cut in education would have a much broader effect than the same dollars worth of military cuts.
Mr. Hartung is director of the Arms and Security Project in New York City for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for International Policy. He was addressing students from Pitt’s graduate school of public and international affairs.
In his research on military spending, Mr. Hartung said Pennsylvania ranks seventh in terms of dollars spent per state by the military. But on a per capita basis, Pennsylvania ranks 17th in the nation for military spending, which makes up 2 percent of the Keystone state’s economy.
Other states, such as California and Virginia, have a higher percentage of their economies based on military spending.
Automated federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, have reduced spending in numerous areas nationally since the beginning of March. The across-the-board cuts were triggered as a result of ongoing budget battles in Washington, D.C.
Some areas that will be hit hard by military cuts are Connecticut, where nuclear submarines are made and which is home to the New London submarine base; the Route 128 beltway area around Boston, where many of the electronics suppliers to the military are based; and Seattle, home of Boeing, which produces military aircraft such as the AH-64 Apache helicopter and the KC-46 tanker used to refuel other aircraft mid-flight.
Rather than losing one million jobs, he said, the first $500 billion of the proposed $1 trillion in cuts is how much the military was expected to expand. The rest, he said, would cost the country about 300,000 jobs.