A year ago, if I said I was worried about "sequestration" most folks would have figured I needed a doctor and wondered if it was something they could catch. But by now most everyone knows it means a trillion dollars in automatic budget cuts that experts say will blow up our fragile economic recovery and drag us back into recession next year. Obviously, it must be stopped.
The problem is that sequestration will destroy American jobs 2.14 million lost in 2013 alone. And half the losses will be at small businesses that are the backbone of economic recovery and growth. In Pennsylvania, the smallest businesses will lose over 35,000 positions.
My company, Acutec Precision Machining, Inc., is a precision machine shop in Northwestern Pennsylvania that turns out custom metal parts for a wide range of commercial and military aerospace, power generation, and other uses. We may be small, but we run some of the most advanced computer-controlled turning, grinding, and milling equipment in the world, supplying parts for almost every major aircraft flying today. If it flies, chances are good there's an Acutec part on there somewhere.
We're a healthy company. We've made big investments in cutting edge equipment and are looking to hire up to serve growing aerospace markets worldwide. But sequestration is such a thoughtless, mindless meat axe, no one knows exactly what programs and contracts will get shut down. That kind of uncertainty is tough for any businesses, but it hits smaller shops with narrow margins hardest of all.
As owner of this business, I'm mostly focused on what sequestration would mean for my people, for the families and communities that depend on a healthy Acutec. But as a citizen I also worry about losing hard-earned skills and technical capabilities that are a foundation of America's military strength. People at companies like Acutec and its peers are a cornerstone of America's security infrastructure we need to invest in them just like we do our troops and military equipment.
We've gotten so used to gridlock in Washington that we've almost given up making real demands of our leaders. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Republicans and Democrats agree that sequestration would undermine American security and blow up our fragile economic recovery. This should be a perfect issue for our leaders to re-discover the lost art of compromise and bipartisan deal making and perhaps if enough Americans speak up, it will.
President, Acutec Precision Machining, Inc.