States brace for military spending cuts

USA Today lays out the scope of Barack Obama’s sequestration spending cuts, and notes that defense cuts will be concentrated in certain states:

The Army’s estimated cuts will force $15 billion in wage and spending reductions and prompt furloughs or layoffs for 300,000 people nationwide, while the Navy could face $11 billion in similar cuts affecting a potential 186,000 employees, records show. The Air Force estimates $7.7 billion in lost pay for its civilian employees.

Hardest hit states by the Army cuts include Alabama, Texas, Virginia and Pennsylvania. Among the least affected: Delaware, Wyoming, Montana and Rhode Island.

The Navy meanwhile expects sequestration will force it to cut $7.75 billion from its shipbuilding programs and another $4 billion in funds for operations and maintenance, according to Navy planning documents. The Navy’s civilian employees could lose 20% of their salaries through furloughs.

California, Florida and Virginia would be most affected by the Navy cuts, the planning documents show.

Things look especially bleak for Texas:

Texas, for instance, would face a $2.4 billion economic loss from the Army’s budget cuts. Nearly 30,000 Army civilian employees will be furloughed if the cuts go into effect. They will lose $180 million in pay. Texas is home to two of the Army’s largest installations — Fort Hood and Fort Bliss.

“These states are where the soldiers are — Texas especially,” said Thomas Donnelly, a defense expert at the American Enterprise Institute.

[…] Texas would also be hard-hit by Air Force cuts, losing $127 million in wages. Other states affected by the Air Force cuts include Oklahoma, whose civilian employees stand to lose $124 million in lost wages.

Virginia, Alabama, and Maryland are not too far behind the Lone Star State.  USA Today has an interactive state-by-state map of the Army’s estimated cuts, and a somewhat less user-friendly map of those considered by the Air Force.

I wonder if President Obama was thinking about these risky military cuts when he was grabbing for another $2 trillion in deficit spending back in 2011?  Or when he declared, the following November: “Already some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts.  My message to them is simple: No.  I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending.  There will be no easy off ramps on this one!”

Maybe if he’d spent a bit more time planning those “smart spending cuts” he’s always talking about – or, heck, even just submitting a budget proposal, as he is required to do by law – none of this would be happening.  But this is what you get when power is handed to a politician who hears only “tax increase” when Americans demand “deficit reduction.”