Make the Check out to NYC, Rumsfeld!

Here's a new take on the furor over New York City's reduced homeland security funds: Make the Pentagon fork it over!

That's the argument being made by backers of the Unified Security Budget, a product of progressive think-tanks who want more thinking and fewer tanks in the U.S. defense strategy. Produced by the Center for Defense Information and Foreign Policy In Focus, the Unified Security Budget calls for reducing military spending by cutting weapons systems that are outdated or unlikely to work, and using the savings to fund more diplomacy, development assistance, and homeland security.

All that would free up hundreds of millions for New York State, says the National Priorities Project: millions more in homeland security funds, and $800 million in tax savings.

There's just one catch: New York State, and the city, have a financial stake in the military industrial complex. In 2005 the Pentagon shelled out $6.8 billion to contractors in the Empire State, from Ford Gum & Machine Company in Akron to Luedtke Engineering in Youngstown. Manhattan alone took in $187 million for office suppliers, tire stores, and universities. Within the Bronx's almost $10 million, Fancy Foods and a janitorial company got a piece. (For a complete rundown, see pages 1875 to 2030 of this document. Be warned, it is a very large pdf.)

So even though cutting defense spending could benefit New Yorkers as a whole, the folks at B&H Foto & Electronics Corp. (with $8.3 million in '05 contracts attributed to its Manhattan office) might miss it.


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