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Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:24 PM

Lockheed-Martin and other weapons manufacturers threaten to put a political gun to Congress ...

They've announced that they will have to send layoff notices to all of their employees unless Congress reneges on the Budget Control Act of 2011, which would cut roughly 12 percent of the Pentagon's gargantuan budget over the next decade. They haven't expressed similar concern over the act's $600 billion to be slashed from essential and already underfunded social services.

As far as these arms dealers are concerned, House of Representative Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's vision for America, government spending essentially limited to maintaining our foreign legions and gulags that already hold two million prisoners, most people of color, would be just fine. Meanwhile, here in my home state of Massachusetts, like Chicken Little, our lieutenant governor is warning that thousands of jobs and billions of dollars would be lost to the state's economy if military bases in the Commonwealth are closed.

Would that they would take a few moments to read the recent University of Massachusetts study, "Military Spending and Jobs in Massachusetts." Similar to other studies, it informs us that "job loss would be approximately 15-20% greater if non-military programs were cut instead" and that "if federal dollars coming into the state were shifted from military to education, construction, healthcare or clean energy some 27% to 134% more jobs would be created."

After more than a decade of nationally self-defeating wars, the near doubling of the Pentagon's already out-sized budget, our economic meltdown and the loss of essential social services from fire fighters and police to teachers and those who maintain our 20th century infrastructure, you'd think that we'd be thinking more critically. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the national budget crisis is not an act of God. It's a legacy of our self-identified "war president" George Bush, who doubled military spending as he led the nation into two disastrous wars and revised national tax policies to take from teachers and cops so that billionaires could double and triple their fortunes.


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