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    Shift of funding to nonmilitary programs could save more jobs

    REMassschusetts defense contractors brace for cuts” (Business, Nov. 8): Like others, I don’t want Massachusetts to suffer massive job losses if automatic budget cuts, or “sequestration,” takes effect in January. But let’s examine what would really happen if sequestration does occur.

    It’s true that reductions in Pentagon spending, which has gone unchecked and risen steadily for years, would result in some job losses in Massachusetts. However, according to a May 2012 report by economists at UMass Amherst, job losses would be 15 to 20 percent greater if nonmilitary programs were cut instead. The report also found that “if the federal dollars coming into the state were shifted from military to education, construction, health care, or clean energy, some 27 percent to 134 percent more jobs would be created.”

    Even if an alternative to sequestration is found, a balanced-budget approach must include reductions in Pentagon spending, which makes up more than half of discretionary spending that Congress appropriates annually. Exempting the Pentagon from cuts would mean even deeper cuts to areas such as education, transportation, and life sciences, all of which are huge job creators for our state.

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    We must do what gives people in Massachusetts the most job opportunities, and that means reshaping Pentagon spending.

    Sara Whitford

    Operations specialist

    Women’s Action for

    New Directions and

    Women Legislators’ Lobby

    Arlington