Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Fiscal cliff poses cuts to military
Protect nondefense investments
As Mark Blondin observed, federal budget sequestration has dangerous consequences for Washington [“Fiscal cliff would kneecap our military,” Opinion, Nov. 14]. But only half of sequestration’s impact is on defense. Nondefense cuts will also hit Washington’s economy hard, costing nearly 25,000 jobs.
Why? Because sequestration makes deep cuts to critical investments in Washington children and families. Nearly 77,000 Washington families would lose health services through the Maternal & Child Health Block Grant, more than 16,000 would lose quality nutrition through WIC and more than 18,000 children would lose educational help. Cutting services carries particular harm for children of color, who make up a majority of babies born in this country and are already poorly served. Hard times and austerity budgeting is a double-whammy our children can’t take.
Teachers, nurses, food-bank staff and other jobs will vanish as investments that fund them dry up. The economic impact of nondefense sequestration cuts in Washington — more than $2.7 billion — is actually greater than what Washington can expect from defense cuts.
Sen. Patty Murray has played a leadership role in Congress, putting both defense and nondefense consequences of sequestration front-and-center. For the sake of Washington kids and economy, any sequestration solution must protect nondefense investments, too.
— Jon Gould, deputy director, Children’s Alliance, Seattle
— Bruce Lesley, president, First Focus Campaign for Children
Need for cuts to military spending
I agree with Mark Blondin about one thing: The so-called “fiscal cliff” is bad news for Washington state — but not for the reasons he states.
Even if Congress fails to act, the $1 trillion in cuts to planned growth in the military budget will reduce spending only to 2007 levels — still an average of $600 billion a year.
On the other hand, the automatic, across-the-board cuts below current levels to domestic spending and entitlements would devastate programs that create true national security, such as Medicare, unemployment insurance, food stamps, job training, disaster relief and Head Start Program.
The United States spends more on the military than the next 17 countries combined (many of whom are our allies), but we are near the bottom for infant mortality and child poverty. Moreover, cuts in education, health care, clean energy and other service sectors result in far greater job losses than cuts to military programs.
I join Blondin in urging our legislators to find a path forward that avoids sequestration and reduces the national debt, but I believe that should involve a minimum of $1 trillion in cuts to military spending, as well as tax increases on the wealthiest among us.
— Jonathan W. Brown, Seattle