Andrew Craft, AP
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel talks to soldiers and civilian workers about sequestration and civilian worker furloughs during a town hall meeting Monday, July 15, 2013, at Fort Bragg, N.C.
It's a little misleading to suggest that sequestration has been a victimless way to force the government to spend within its means ("Sequestration warnings sound a lot like crying wolf," July 15).
Thanks to sequestration, 60,000 homeless veterans are losing housing aid from HUD. More than 77,000 veterans have lost job training or military-to-civilian transition assistance from the Labor Department. Sequester layoffs at the Defense Department (where nearly half of civilian staff once served) means up to a 20 percent cut in pay for over 300,000 vets.
I support spending cuts, but not these blanket cuts that end up targeting the voiceless like homeless veterans and low-level DOD employees. Why doesn't Congress instead cut failing programs like the new F-35 fighter jet? The Pentagon plans to spend a whopping $12.6 billion every year buying F-35s from now until 2037, a staggering figure that doesn't even include ongoing sustainment expenses that even military leaders say are simply "unaffordable." Worse yet, experts say the F-35 maneuvers worse than bombers that got wiped out over Vietnam — hardly a ringing endorsement of its capabilities.
Surely we can move some funds from this gold-plated fighter jet to meet our obligations to veterans and their families.