We’re pulling together a new tracker to follow all the various industries and sectors that have asked for government assistance as the COVID-19 response and mitigation goes on. Just an objective tool to follow the money and policy requests. That will be out in a basic form soon and updated regularly.
But first we want to flag the Aerospace Industries Association disturbing request. The title talks about protecting the aerospace defense workforce but from my reading the proposal does anything but. The defense sector could play a role in helping the nation with current very real crisis. That’s part of what triggering the Defense Production Act is about.
Leaving aside the proposal to accelerate payments and contract awards (#4) which is a recipe for reduced oversight and waste – and besides couldn’t the country wait a few months for most of this stuff? – look at #2. Designate their “workforce as essential. Like our citizens that have been asked to continue working at grocery stores, pharmacies… our workforce must continue to deliver products…” We’re not saying aerospace workforce is not important. Or that some of the work, particularly in services must not continue. But this blanket assertion will put their very workforce at risk. Americans need grocery stores and pharmacies to survive. Not building weapon systems for a few months won’t put national security at risk. Loss of trained, highly skilled workers to COVID-19 will. This is so incredibly short-sighted and frankly heartless. This appears to be more about cash than caring.
We can argue about how much the defense sector needs injection of public investment (#1) – these are some of the most profitable industries in the world. But designating their workforce essential so they can still sell widgets and weapon systems to Uncle Sam – who if they haven’t noticed is spending a lot of money these days – is short-sighted and selfish.