The Washington Post reports that defense contractors aren’t very concerned about sequestration:
“In call after call with investors, officials at some of the area’s largest contracting firms refused to guess how much it would cost them if Congress allows the “sequester” to kick in on March 1. Even as their lobbyists keep warning how much the cuts would hurt the industry, the executives are projecting confidence that the sequester will not happen. Northrop Grumman chief executive Wes Bush said Wednesday that his company’s outlook for the year projects “the sequestration is not triggered” and that Congress barely touches federal contract spending levels for 2013. General Dynamics …too, assumes no sequestration. Their confidence defies the emerging consensus on Capitol Hill that Congress will not find an agreement in time to cancel or delay the cuts… If the sequester cuts take effect in full, economists estimate they will destroy about 1 million jobs nationwide, including hundreds of thousands in the Washington area. The executives do not appear to believe that will come to pass. It may be because Congress keeps averting fiscal crises at the very last minute, and because the Obama administration asked contractors last year not to issue layoff notices in preparation for cuts that were originally scheduled to begin this month. It may also be because contracting firms appear confident in their ability to lobby for sequester relief.”
Meanwhile, federal labor unions are asking Congress (*cough* Republicans *cough*) to quit playing favorites with their defense contractor buddies if they really want to balance the budget:
“The NTEU has called on Congress to focus its attention on contractors for cost savings. During the last session of Congress, the union lobbied for a stalled measure that would limit reimbursements for contractor executive pay. Gilman said the legislation could save the government up to $50 billion over 10 years. “Some folks are just adamant that their number one goal is to prevent these guys that are making $45,000 a year from getting a half-percent raise as opposed to limiting folks that are being reimbursed $760,000 a year,” Gilman said. “We can’t get some of the people who are screaming loudest about cutting the budget to look at the total dollars as opposed to just looking at the federal workforce.””
$45,000 to $760,000 is quite a discrepancy between the average federal salary and the average pay for a defense contractor executive. The Bush Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are over now, right? Why is the war machine not winding down?
The enormous salaries paid by the taxpayer to defense contractor executives are just another form of corporate welfare. How is this not “big government?” It’s ridiculous that federal workers could be doing the same work for less money, but the conservative talking point is that by the government hiring contractors at enormous wages we’re “drowning government in a bathtub.” Bullshit. Defense contractors are banking massive amounts of tax payer money and WE’RE the ones who are drowning.