For those of you on the right who constantly complain about the size of government — how much it costs us in tax dollars, and how it distorts our economy — you may be interested to learn that the U.S. military is Washington state’s single largest employer, with over 94,000 uniformed personnel and civilian workers.
Well, the latest round of base closings has been announced, and fortunately for our state economy, Washington has been spared any major losses. In fact, it looks like we’ll be picking up about 800 personnel statewide. This is big news for a state economy still struggling to recover from recession. Huge.
Still… I’ve always been uncomfortable with the way these base closures pit states against each other, and the ensuing battle between politics and logistics during the decision making process. For example, the Philadelphia area where I grew up, just got the bad news that it will lose yet another major installation, the Willow Grove Naval Air Station. Pennsylvania has lost over 16,500 military jobs in the four rounds of base closures since 1988, and the local economy was hit particularly hard by the shuttering of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1991. If approved, this latest round of closures will cost Pennsylvania another 1,658 jobs.
“This is not good news, but I can tell you the entire congressional delegation, the governor, all of us will go to bat,” said U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.
Yes, that is exactly what congressional delegations around the nation will be doing during the coming months, in one of the few D.C. rituals where a hate-filled, right-wing, partisan whacko like Santorum is actually willing to reach across the aisle to his Democratic Keystone State colleagues. So as we digest this good news, we all owe a big thanks and our continued support to Gov. Christine Gregoire and our congressional delegation for all their hard work in protecting our own, selfish, economic interests.
In case you’re wondering, here are the base closures proposed for WA state. You can view the official BRAC list in its entirety here.
1LT Richard H. Walker U.S. Army Reserve Center
Army National Guard Reserve Center, Everett
Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center, Tacoma
U.S. Army Reserve Center, Fort Lawton