The Pentagon has announced it will be laying off thousands of workers in an effort to streamline operations and slash spending. The decision was announced by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, adding that he will recommend to President Obama the dismantling of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which employs 6,100 people. Unnecessary military spending will be cut, such as stopping construction of the F-22 fighter jet, which has been more of a vanity project rather than a tool of defense. In today’s current financial climate, such cuts are very much welcome. What has yet to be seen, however, is the effect it will have, if any, on the deficit.
The announcement coincides with the signing of a bill meant to halt the laying off of public sector jobs, including policemen and teachers. The bill is set to save 160,000 education jobs; a loophole regarding tax cuts to multinational companies will close to make up for any monetary losses. It is not going to add to the deficit. Also, a $600 million boost to the security of the U.S.-Mexican border was passed, allowing for the hiring of more enforcement officers.
The state of New Jersey has been facing a massive amount of layoffs, especially in education. In an attempt to cut the state budget, Governor Chris Christie proposed to cut $820 million in state aid to schools, already costing the jobs of thousands of teachers. The move immediately made Christie largely unpopular in the state, with protests against the cuts and the Governor being held by the thousands.
Before the cuts, he had already cut teacher’s health benefits and attempted to force negotiations regarding pay in teachers’ union contracts. His cuts also meant the loss of funding for adult education, and cutting off funding for after-school care. Fortunately, the Obama teacher bailout bill arose in response to these cuts, as well as similar cuts in other states, to allow the security of proper education to students.
In such a fiscally sensitive economy, these cuts will be welcome, especially cuts on unnecessary military spending. Of course, with the U.S. currently financing two very expensive wars, there could be more being done. We need to continue trimming our spending fat, cutting what we’re not using and what we don’t need as much as we can without sacrificing the quality of life in the U.S.. Because we’re already spending a huge amount on security, there’s no cause to worry. What we should worry about is why we were spending so frivolously for so long.
Craig Whitlock, “Pentagon to cut thousands of jobs, defense secretary says”, the Washington Post
Jim Abrams, “Obama signs emergency bill to halt teacher layoffs”, the Associated Press
Leslie Brody, “N.J. governor’s budget cuts $820 million in state aid to schools”, NorthJersey.com
Manuel Balce Ceneta, “Our view on defense spending: Gates cuts Pentagon fat, but plenty of flab remains”, USA Today