Red Alert: Aerospace Industry Counts Down to Cutbacks | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

    Red Alert: Aerospace Industry Counts Down to Cutbacks

    It's red alert time for aerospace industry executives, workers and contractors.

    As they mingled today at the Aerospace Industries Association's annual Year-End Outlook luncheon at a Washington Grand Hyatt, the bright red electronic digits kept counting down for them.

    The ever-changing figures on the large digital clock, set up on the ballroom stage, reminded the roughly 300 luncheon participants of the time left before they feel the effects of massive, automatic cuts in government spending.

    "Stop the clock," said a sign above the digits.

    As silver forks started to pick at green salads, the clock's countdown digits read: "27 days 11 hours 10 minutes 5 seconds."

    Aerospace workers may be facing huge layoffs if planned federal spending cuts go forward under a legal process known as sequestration. The cuts, including roughly $54 billion for U.S. national security spending, will commence in the new year unless Congress stops them during the complicated negotiations in progress on Capitol Hill.

    Defense budgeting should not be reduced to a mere "political bargaining chip," AIA President and CEO Marion Blakey said. Her scarlet suit matched the red digits as she stood along side the countdown clock.

    "It is far too easy to conclude that the companies, workers and communities that comprise this industry can withstand anything; that they can adapt to any change, no matter how sudden or harmful," she said.

    Blakey labeled herself an optimist who believes Congress will solve this fiscal crisis and block the drastic cuts now set on autopilot. But even so, the "fiscal cliff" drama already has harmed her industry, and the nation, she says.

    "What message did sequestration telegraph to the world about our country, our commitment to national security, our commitment to economic prosperity and our commitment to the next generation of defense and aerospace innovation?" she asked.

    Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

    NPR

    As A Lyricist And Novelist, The Mountain Goats' Lead Man Writes About Pain

    John Darnielle's novel, Wolf in White Van, is about a man who survives a trauma. The songwriter tells Fresh Air about his difficult childhood and finding shelter in music and the Incredible Hulk.
    NPR

    Mistura Food Fest Gives Peruvian Cuisine A Chance To Shine

    Every September, top chefs from around the world gather to celebrate the diversity of Peruvian cuisine. But not everyone is convinced the food boom is the answer to the country's historic challenges.
    NPR

    Iran's Foreign Minister: U.S. 'Not Serious' About Defeating Islamic State

    In an interview with NPR, Mohammad Javad Zarif says the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to defeating the Islamist insurgency.
    NPR

    3.7 Million Comments Later, Here's Where Net Neutrality Stands

    A proposal about how to maintain unfettered access to Internet content drew a bigger public response than any single issue in the Federal Communication Commission's history. What's next?

    Leave a Comment

    Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.