Defense Industry, Manufacturers Could Lose more than ONE MILLION JOBS, Pushing Unemployment to 10 Percent
by MELISSA QUINN
June 27, 2012
The looming threat of sequestration is proving to extend beyond the walls of the Pentagon, making its way into the political arena as the November elections get closer.
Not only will the additional $500 billion in defense cuts have an effect on the lives of more than 1 million government contractors and manufacturers, but incumbents up for re-election in November could face defeat as voters associate the spiraling economy and the major cuts.
Sequestration cuts are set to automatically take place following the failure of the deficit-reduction super committee.
"I don't see it cannot [have political ramifications]," said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon. "We've been 40 months above 8 percent unemployment. I would think that would have a very negative impact. The people that haven't been focusing on it [sequestration], haven't been thinking about it, are going to get a real wake up call."
Defense companies such as Lockheed Martin - the world's largest - and Northrup Grumman are preparing to hand out pink slips to employees in preparation for potential layoffs in the thousands. Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), employers must notify workers of layoffs 60-90 days prior to their termination. With the potential sequestration to come through in January, workers legally have to be notified of their potential termination as early as September and as late as Nov. 2 - right before the Nov. 6 elections.
"The economy is the number one issue going in. If we see these pink slips starting to hit, and you see a lot of workers who may, they have been the people who voted Democrat before," said Rep. Randy Forbes, Republican congressman from Virginia. "You're going to see people start to realize this economy is in bad shape and they're going to be mad as they can be with this administration."
For incumbents, the sequestration may raise questions for voters who want to see changes in the economy, and Rep. Forbes predicts the issue will be brought up in congressional debates. If the people want answers from their representatives, he said, the same questions need to be posed to the presidential candidates, too.