Moral Outrage
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Defense cuts could boost US unemployment

The Pentagon is warning Congress that potential sweeping cuts to the defense budget would put millions more out of work and add a percentage point to the country’s unemployment rate, officials said Thursday.

The Pentagon described a dire scenario if a congressional “supercommittee” fails to agree by November 23 to trim $1.2 trillion from government deficits, which would trigger deep automatic cuts across the federal government.

Press secretary George Little, citing Defense Department, says “We’re not talking about just military jobs. We’re also talking about jobs in the private sector that support the innovation and creativity and capabilities that we need to keep America strong.”

With high unemployment a politically hot issue, the alarming forecast was the Pentagon’s latest salvo as it seeks to fend off further downsizing of the defense budget beyond already planned cuts over the next decade.

If the congressional panel fails to agree on how to slice the budget before the end of the year, it would trigger automatic defense cuts “in the neighborhood” of one trillion dollars, Little said. The cutbacks would jeopardize military jobs and roughly 3.8 million jobs in the country’s giant defense industry, he said.



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