Editor's Note: Katie LaPotin is the communications director for the Chris Perkins campaign.
The $492 billion of additional cuts to defense spending that will start to take effect this November as the part of last year's budget deal known as 'sequestration' should not have required a choice between our nation and the 11th District.
Northern Virginia will be second only to the state’s eastern shore in terms of the hardest-hit regions in America when the Congressionally-approved defense cuts take effect. Conservative estimates suggest that Northern Virginia will lose tens of thousands of jobs, both in the private and public sectors, and billions in revenue. The 'trickle down effect' will be felt throughout the various small businesses that make up our local economy in Fairfax and Prince William counties. Our rising unemployment rate will soar as area industrial giants and small businesses close their doors.
The damage inflicted by sequestration is not isolated to local economic ruin. Sequestration, paired with the $487 billion in additional defense cuts authorized by Congress last year, will reduce America's military capability to levels not seen in several generations. More than 100,000 servicemen and women, many of them returning home from multiple deployments in Afghanistan, will be handed a pink slip and directed to the unemployment line. Many in Congress have turned a deaf ear to the Secretary of Defense's warning that sequestration will have a disastrous effect on our ability to meet the country's national security objectives --- the primary purpose of the federal government!
Yet here we are, facing an imminent 'perfect storm'. A stalled economy with rising unemployment shrouded in a fog of uncertainty. Significant tax increases that will rain down on both small businesses and individual taxpayers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And now, the devastating lightning bolt of sequestration.
We can raise taxes as Congressman Connolly and others have suggested, but that will almost certainly have a counterproductive affect on our already struggling local economy. Or, as I believe, we can make reasonable reforms to government programs that can allow us to keep our promise to those 55 years or older and create a sustainable entitlement system for future generations while making cuts to spending that won’t compromise our local economy and ability to protect ourselves.
Sequestration should have never been an option for our lawmakers. It was a void of leadership that put both our nation and our local economy at great risk.