It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the nine Cape Ann companies relying on federal Defense Department contracts would – like any other defense manufacturer or provider – be in harm’s way when congressional lawmakers and the Obama administration address a defense budget cut of some $487 billion.
One might even feel that any specific cuts would be justified if a report found that some defense providers were overcharging taxpayers, or that contracts being cut involved companies that were not delivering the goods.
But in keeping with the government’s and current administration’s track records, that’s not the case. So Cape Ann companies like Gorton’s of Gloucester, Bomco Industries and The Strong Group of Gloucester — all of which provide a significant number of Cape Ann jobs — absurdly find themselves in the line of budgetary fire regardless of their performances thanks to the government’s so-called sequestration cuts, which threaten to trim 18 percent of all contracts across the board.
Thankfully, none of these cuts are done deals. And Congressman John Tierney – whose 6th District has $2.7 billion worth of defense contracts overall — is committed to pushing for change. “Sequestration,” he said, “is not a responsible policy approach for this country ... (and) cuts across the board, without consideration of a program’s effectiveness, do not make sense for any industry.” And he’s right.
At its core, of course, the Obama administration cares little or nothing about jobs; we’ve all seen that here in Gloucester and across New England in the way it’s allowed NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco to openly carry out a fishery management policy that’s been documented as intentionally killing waterfront jobs for at least the last two years.
But this is one case in which we hope that Tierney and our other federal lawmakers can make the case for tying any such cuts to efficiency and performance, rather than a wrong-headed one-size-fits all approach.
Hard-working companies and employees on Cape Ann and elsewhere deserve at least that much.