According to Deloitte, in a study sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association, America’s aerospace and defense industry is “the largest net exporter, and one of the largest contributors to our nation’s gross exports at $89.6 billion.” These exports are especially valuable to a strong American economy bringing in foreign dollars to keep American workers on the job.
As Bruce Olsson of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers notes, America’s commercial aerospace business “is one of the sectors in which the United States enjoys a positive balance of trade with the rest of the world. We should be fighting tooth and nail to preserve that balance of trade.”
That’s why labor unions, trade associations and business groups, defense contractors, the United States Conference of Mayors, universities and others have all weighed in on the harmful effects of sequestration. And now, small-business owners themselves are jumping into the fray to alert Washington that these cuts hurt on the local level.
Business leaders in North Carolina recently sent a letter to their Congressional delegation urging action. In it, they worried that Washington does not clearly understand “the real impact that sequestration would have on small- and medium-sized businesses across North Carolina.”
A letter to Ohio’s Congressional delegation says: “Most of the damage from sequestration cuts would be at local businesses like the firms we lead. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of defense industrial purchases go to smaller suppliers, and three-quarters of all defense-related manufacturing jobs are at supply chain firms.”
These business owners go on to warn Washington: “That means the harm from sequestration cuts will flow quickly down to small and mid-sized businesses like ours. Sequestration could sound the death knell for many smaller businesses without the deep pockets and global business portfolio needed to weather such a storm.”
Signers include Ferco Aerospace Group in Franklin, Belcan Corp. in Cincinnati, X-R-I Testing in Cleveland, PCC Airfoils in Beachwood, Materion in Mayfield Heights and Meggitt Corp. in Akron.
Too many in Washington see the argument about sequestration as an ideological battle with the defense budget and tax reformers staring at each other from opposite corners. But that’s not how it looks on the front lines of our economy. And politicians threatening to take our nation over the “fiscal cliff” in order to make some political point need to understand that it’s Main Street businesses like these that will be smashed when we all hit the bottom.
Mackenzie Eaglen is a resident fellow for national security at the American Enterprise Institute.