Sequester cuts are hitting vital programs like Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and cancer treatment centers. So, it's difficult to understand why Congress would be pushing to spend $436 million on tanks that the Army says it does not need. According to Congress, keeping the production line of tanks rolling is important to jobs and supporting businesses in Lima, Ohio, where the tanks are manufactured. But the Army chief of staff says, “If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way.”
The military must absorb $487 billion in sequester cuts over the next decade, and like various other programs effected by the cuts, they're finding it difficult to figure out where that money will come from. Reducing the production of tanks they don't need seems to be a reasonable cut. But, Lima Mayor David Berger says the plant is the city's fifth-largest employer, and closing the factory would have “about a $100 million impact annually.”
Once again, we see a prime example of how Republican austerity destroys economies. There's no question that it's foolish to be building tanks our military doesn't need, but without economic investment in that region, there may not be other jobs available for that plant's employees. And, as the sequester has also forced cuts to vital programs like unemployment aid, housing assistance, and nutritional programs, people who find themselves out of work will find it even more difficult to get by.
Instead of arguing with the military about whether or not the tanks are needed, Congress should be investing in Lima, Ohio, and creating new jobs for plant employees to turn to. While they're at it, they should also reverse the Republican austerity measures hitting children, seniors, and cancer patients in our nation. Let's demand that Congress put an end to the now-debunked austerity theory and start putting people back to work. Join the fight at No-Cuts.com
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