The American people are in a surly mood right now. They see their wages plummeting. They see their neighbors out of work. They stand by helpless as their elected representatives spend money that they don't have sending the country they love to hell in a handbasket. And they know that the only areas of the country that are prospering in these awful times are those propped up by the federal government. Including Washington D.C. (Ground Zero for the rich on the public dole) and Virginia Beach (Ground Zero Once Removed for lucrative civilian jobs supporting the military).
So when you argue that what seems on its face to be a legitimate effort to scale back government spending and streamline the command structure in the military is wrong because it will cause the loss of (government and government financed) jobs, your argument falls on a lot of deaf ears. If we are to be spending unnecessary money in Norfolk on a military facility that the head of the military says is not needed, your argument becomes one of saving the welfare system, not saving jobs. We should maintain the facility only because its closure would stop checks from flowing to its employees?
Send 'em a check and call it welfare. Which is what you're suggesting.
The Roanoke Times gets it right:
Defense spending must be rational1) We start with the premise that JFCOM is superfluous. A duplication of effort. Is that true? Beats me. But some really smart and knowledgeable experts claim it is. And politicians tell us it isn't. Who ya gonna trust?
Predictably, Virginia politicians began hyperventilating when Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced a plan Monday to close the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk.
Gov. Bob McDonnell called the decision "outrageous" and immediately announced plans to form a commission "to find ways to preserve the tremendous federal investment in our military and security infrastructure" in Virginia.
Virginia's congressional delegation, including Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, also weighed in with condemnations of the decision, almost all focusing on the tremendous loss of jobs and investment.
Gates knows, though, that the spending increases that have sent unending waves of money coursing through the Pentagon since 9/11 are unsustainable. As the deficit becomes more of an issue, defense spending will have to be examined.
It is not the Pentagon's responsibility to provide jobs for Virginia, or any other state.
Gates makes a convincing argument that JFCOM has outlived its purpose, and that the vital functions it does continue to serve could be most effectively and efficiently handled by other commands.
There is still a need for joint training and exercises, but "they do not necessarily require a separate four-star combatant command," he said. [link]
It's sad when we make decisions that force people out of work. Believe me, I've been there and done that more times than you can imagine. But if we didn't force our government to make these hard decisions, half the country would be on the receiving end of welfare checks and be in the business of making buggy whips.
Get your arms around this: The last time government tried to be the exclusive employer to its entire population, the Soviets launched Министерство атомной энергетики и промышленности. How's that working out?
2) Will the government actually realize some kind of savings from this closure? Do pigs fly?
3) The only important question as far as I'm concerned: Will the military retain its fighting effectiveness with the closure?
I'm for leaving it to the experts.
If not, we might as well open up Fort Monroe once again and pay people to watch it gather moss. A whole host of welfare recipients to watch the moss grow.