!!PLANET IS FIRST IN!! NEWS: FED BUDGET OK RESULTS IN 150 JOBS FOR PITTFIELD; COMMENTARY: WHAT’s SO GOOD ABOUT ‘BLOOD MONEY’?
BY DAN VALENTI
General Dynamics plans to add up to 150 new jobs, at a reported $75,000 average annual salary, as a result of the approval in the Senate and House yesterday of the new federal spending plan.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate approved the measure 79-16. Late last night, the House followed suit in a much closer vote, 193-165. Included in the measure was Defense Department funding of a plan that would add a number of new combat ships to the Navy’s fleet. General Dynamics will be involved in the design and manufacture of components for the new ship.
That will create what the company estimates as 150 new jobs at the Pittsfield plant on Plastics Avenue. The jobs will average $75,000 a year, according to Pittsfield Mayor Jimmy Ruberto.
THE PLANET shall continue to add to this story as the day progresses.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The first reader “reply” came in to this website @ 9:12 a.m. The Berkshire Eagle posted a story online @ 12:27:18 p.m. How is it that THE PLANET, with our tiny staff and a million other media responsibilities, beats them on a local story of this magnitude, by more than 3 1/2 hours? Speed, baby, smarts, aggressiveness, will, and knowing how to use them. To my good friends at the Boring Broadsheet (aka the Eagle): We shall consider your surrender only on OUR terms.
Back in with the other part of this story: the analysis. Since we can be sure Mayor Jimmy Ruberto, Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. John Kerry, and their rah-rah apologists at the Berkshire Eagle will spin this story into the Second Coming of Christ, THE PLANET present the contrarian view of what this means. This new money that will be injected into the local economy is Blood Money. Why do we celebrate that?
Tip O’Neil’s famous quip that “all politics is local” is another way of saying that politics is myopic. Since policy is made by office holders desperate to hang onto office, politicians are notoriously short term. This story about the new work coming to General Dynamics is a prime example. Yes, it’s good that it happened, short term, for Pittsfield. The larger picture, though is morally disturbing.
That the House and Senate included this in the spending bill based on the arm twisting of people like Ruberto twisting Patrick, Patrick twisting Kerry, and Kerry twisting Whomever means that we have just funded new battle ships for a Navy that doesn’t need them to fight wars in which we shouldn’t be engaged.
The awarding of this funding confirms that the War Machine in the United States is about Big Business more than intelligent foreign policy. This country never returned to a peacetime economy after WWII. That war boosted the GNP of the US into the stratosphere, and when the war ended, the Pentagon and Big Business did not want to let go of the Gravy Train, Gravy Plane, Gravy Boat, Gravy Tank, and Gravy Bomb. Thus was created the National Security State, that thrives to this day.
President Eisenhower, a military man, warned us about the dangers of an out-of-control military-industrial complex. He was an old man in bad health, no threat to the Established New Order. When Jack Kennedy came in and started to dismantle the organization, they killed him. Since then, it’s been more military buildup, to its present 40+% of the entire US budget, to fight fake wars and to deploy military capability well beyond what reason and national security dictate.
Sept. 11, 2001, was the Establishment’s lucky day, and that has become the excuse ever since for the US to not only think it’s the world’s policeman but to act that way as well.
That’s what these jobs at General Dynamic reflect: the hijacking of government from the American people. THE PLANET will not celebrate The War Machine, no matter how much it benefits us locally.
What Ruberto, Patrick, Kerry et al won’t tell you about the budget just passed by the House and Senate is the colossal waste of money it includes. We count the Pentagon’s budget, hence the Navy’s new boat toys and the morally bankrupt jobs it will create, as part of that waste.
Politics as Usual
The new spending bill was passed only after a lot of last-minute wrangling. Remember that earlier this year, with the Democrats controlling both houses, the Jackasses couldn’t get a traditional spending bill passed. As www.thehill.com points out, this sets the stage for a colossal amount of partisan gridlock in the upcoming new Congress.
Early in December, Congress had to pass a continuing resolution to fund the government at the current level because of the battle between reformers, who want to curb uncontrolled federal spending, and the Business as Usual crowd, who want to keep adding to the taxpayer’s burden. That’s how you end up with unnecessary spending such as the wet kiss to Pittsfield in the form of Blood Money jobs making weapons we don’t need.
This in not Pittsfield’s “finest hour,” a phrase Mayor Ruberto used to THE PLANET to describe this development. It is Pittsfield’s status as a beneficiary to the immoral government of the United States of America.
This new spending plan provides for the funding of these projects:
— $175 million for the Department of Veteran Affairs to maintain unused buildings.
— $615,000 to the University of California at Santa Cruz to digitize Grateful Dead memorabilia.
— $930 million for unnecessary federal printing costs.
— $2.9 million to study virtual games, including the World of Warcraft.
— $35 million in Medicare payments to criminal gang members who submitted false claims based on identity theft.
— $15.68 million for the Bureau of Land Management on a 2,900-acre shooting range in Nevada.
— $977,766 to put poetry in zoos in five states. Massachusetts was not one of them.
— $112 million for the IRS to hand out tax refunds to prisoners who filed fraudulent claims.
— $2.5 million for the U.S. Census Bureau to take out an ad during the Super Bowl.
THE PLANET’s sources for this information: Wastebook, CNBC, Bloomberg, USA Today, The Week, and our own readings of the spending plan.
The federal budget deficit this year is $1.3 trillion. The size of the national debt is $13.7 trillion. With a “T”.
The amount of money the Navy got to build the new combat ships is a trifle within such numbers, but don’t pretend this is anything more than pork.
There’s nothing to be proud of here. We’ll take the waste, since it would only go to someone else, but please, let’s keep our heads. This doesn’t address the most fundamental problem in Pittsfield right now: jobs. The city will need a whole lot more than 150 new jobs. Even at that, these jobs will largely be filled by out-of-towners. Where are the mid-range ($40,000-type) jobs for those who are not naval systems engineers?