Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Flip Flops Aren't Just For the Beach

Nothing gets politicians to change their stance on something faster than proposed Defense spending cuts.  The most peaceful of "Doves" in Washington suddenly want us to produce more "weapons of death" and to "maintain our preparedness" when those proposed cuts will mean the loss of high-paying jobs in their district or state.  Meanwhile, the most ardent opponents of "creating jobs through government spending" demand that funding not only continue--but be increased to "put more people to work".

That is the situation Wisconsin's Congressional delegation finds themselves in as President Obama decides to scale back the US Military to levels not seen since before World War II.  On the chopping block is the Littoral Combat Ship--which just happens to be made at Marinette Marine.  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel went so far as to single out the LCS as an example of military hardware that the Navy really doesn't need--so there is no need to build as many of them as they first ordered.

That has left Senator Tammy Baldwin--a long-time proponent of cuts to Defense spending in favor of increased entitlement spending--in the awkward position of arguing in favor of weapons of war with debatable strategic importance.  It doesn't help your re-election chances when you fail to "bring home the bacon"--even if you are a staunch vegan who has been attacking the meatpacking industry for years (to stretch a metaphor to it breaking point).

On the flip side, you have Republicans like Congressman Reid Ribble--in whose district Marinette Marine sits.  Ribble is demanding that the Navy spend every single penny it committed to in the original order--plus more ships should be built because the contract supports so many good-paying jobs.  This argument comes after Ribble voted against Stimulus packages that were supposed to support "shovel ready" public works projects and put people back to work on the argument that "Government doesn't create jobs".

 Will the Defense cuts actually come to fruition?  It's highly unlikely.  The Defense industry is a mammoth, nationwide enterprise, meaning nearly every Senator and Congressman would see some negative effect in his or her area--making it doubtful they would voice much support for the effort.  But if somehow it did come to pass, all of those workers at Marinette Marine can rest assured that they will have government subsidized health insurance, extended unemployment benefits and expanded Food Stamps available to them.  And that is a lot more important that having a job, right?

1 comment:

  1. Take it a step further 2 cents. Two months ago Ryan and Democrats passed a budget, within that budget there was military spending cuts.

    Then when the President went to inact those cuts Ryan stated they were too much, even though they were less then he (Ryan) budgeted before.

    Now there is a flip flop from a master.