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PAGE 10 | Loudoun Business

AUGUST 2012

Sequestration Shows Zero Political Leadership tional unemployment rate 2 percentage points higher.Thisisn’tanother“scaretactic.”Thisisthe reality that has been decided for us by political “leaders” who are unwilling to make the tough decisions. Telos does a lot of business with the government,withthemilitaryandintelligencecommunitiesasourprimarycustomers.Butit’snot onlyasabusinessmanthatI’mconcernedabout thesequestrationimplicationsandthegeneral direction in which our country is headed. It’s as a taxpayer and a parent that I’m most appalled. It’snotjustthoseinthecontractingcommunity who have a stake in this issue—we all do. The lack of leadership in both Congress and the White House is astounding. Please don’t mistake that statement as a political commentary on either the Democrats or the Republicans—it is simply the truth and should be applied equally to both parties. It is truly appalling that the White House and Congress can’t work together to address our enormous deficits and ever-growing debt. Rather than definitively saying which budget items are strategically important to the best interests of the United States, and as a direct result, which budget items are NOT strategically important to the best interests of the United States, both CongressandtheWhiteHousehavechosenthe spineless alternative: a mindless, across-theboardwhackatdiscretionaryspending.“Whacking”discretionaryspendingisnotareplacement for making tough decisions. No business leader would blindly cut 10 percent off the top of a budget. They would

determine what functions are essential for the success of the company, and begin cutting the nonessential pieces, knowing that those cuts may affect employees, suppliers and partners. Butleadershiprequiresmakingtoughdecisions that are in the best interest of the whole. Did you know that 50 years ago federal entitlement spending was 21 percent of the federal budget,and today it has grown to more than 50 percent of the federalbudget, according to the Office of Management and Budget? By John Wood That means CEO, Telos that 50 percent of our federal budget is spent on autopilot. If that isn’t alarmingenough,ourunfundedpromisesandentitlement liabilities are well over $60 trillion. Why is no one talking about our entitlement and mandatory spending problems? Pretty simple actually. Politicians try to please everyone because they want to be re-elected. Because their desire to be re-elected is often a driving force, they are comfortable making promises they can’t keep—including the unsustainable

A Business Perspective

A local news outlet recently asked me about sequestration, the process by which discretionaryfederalspendingwillbeautomatically cut beginning Jan. 3, 2013, if Congress is unable to agree on additional steps to reduce thefederaldeficit.Sequestrationwillautomatically cut more than $1 trillion from the federal budget without regard to merit over the next 10 years. $500 billion will be cut from the Department of Defense over 10 years, meaning national defense will incur $50 billion of spending cuts in 2013 alone. The threat of sequestration is causing massuncertaintyinthecountryandspecifically in our region, because business owners who provideservicestothefederalgovernmentand the DOD have no idea where those $50 billion incutswillfall.AccordingtoReuters,Lockheed Martin CEO and Chairman Robert Stevens testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee, warning that if sequestration goes through, come 2013 they will need to cut 10,000 jobs companywide. Under the WARN Act (The WorkerAdjustmentandRetrainingNotification Act)companiesarerequiredtoinformemployees60dayspriortoamassemployeereduction. Because Lockheed is completely uncertain of where the $50 billion in cuts will fall on Jan. 3, 2013 they would have no choice but to prepare the company and their employees, for the worst. Thejoblossimplicationoftheseacrossthe board cuts will be devastating—to the tune of morethan2millionprivateindustryjobslost.If sequestrationisn’tstopped,itmaydrivethena-

entitlementslikeSocialSecurity,Medicareand Medicaid that are bankrupting our country. Sequestration puts the entire burden of deficit reduction solely on the back of discretionary spending—both defense and non-defense—and completely ignores the real problem, part of which is our entitlement spending and unfunded entitlement liabilities. Sequestration does not address what I have previously called the other two essential legs of the deficit reduction stool: entitlements and revenues. If politicians are to ever get anything done, they have to quit digging in their heels on their own preferred leg of the stool in the hope thatsomedaytheirpointofviewwillcompletely prevail.Everyoneneedstounderstandcompromiseisnotadirtyword,particularlyifitachieves the greater good of getting meaningful deficit reduction. Everyonehaspriorities.Butcollectivelyour nationhasaccumulatedsomany“priorities”that it is preventing us from taking effective action on what has to be our number one national priority–reducingourunsustainabledeficitand debt burden. It’s time for sacrifices. It’s time for leadership. And it’s time for action. IinviteyoutowatchthedocumentaryIOUSAandIOUSASolutionsatwww.iousathemovie. com.Theseshortfilmstakeanon-partisanlook at our national debt burden and the impact of out of control spending.

Join, Lead, Engage: Build Business, Community join our Chamber, but get engaged in way that definesyouandyourbusinessasaleaderinour organization and our community. Please note that dual reference to a Chamber member’s role in their business and in their community. Increasingly, Chambers of Commercearefullyrealizingthatahealthybusinessenvironmentdependsonhavingahealthy community in every respect. Several years ago, the Association of American Chamber of Commerce Executives commissioned a study to determine what America’s communities wanted from their chamber of commerce. What ACCE discovered was both obvious and profound. In counties, towns and cities acrossournation,businessesweredemanding more than networking and marketing opportunitiesfromtheirchambers,thoughthose fundamentalbenefitsofChambermembership are still in high demand. What business and community leaders are increasingly demanding from their local chambers are the opportunities to build stronger communities, ones that foster a climate of success and growth for all citizens. At the Loudoun County Chamber of Com-

merce, we have been out ahead of this trend for several years. Some of the examples of our community-minded focus are the Non-Profit Initiative,aprogramcreatedtoofferLoudoun’s many outstanding non-profit groupsthe opportunity to network with each other and with forprofitleaders, and to By Tony Howard learn best practices Loudoun Chamber that can of Commerce CEO improve their operations. It is evidenced in our annual Small Business Awards, which honors outstanding small businessesandentrepreneursthroughoutour county, regardless of Chamber membership. It also is seen through the Chamber’s

From the Chamber

“Be a Part of It!” That is our tag line at the Loudoun County Chamber. But more than just a tag line, it is a call to action to business owners and communityleaderstonotjustjointheirlocalChamber, but to get personally engaged in the collective effort to build the strongest and most effective business advocacy and networking organization in Northern Virginia. More importantly, “Be a Part of It” also is a call to action to every member of the Loudoun community to take advantage of the many opportunities that are available to help create a world class location to live, work, grow a business and raise a family. The benefits of accepting our invitation are clear. Look around and you will see that the mostsuccessfulcompaniesandbusinessleaders in our County are also those that are most engaged in building a stronger community for every one of our neighbors. In my role as president of the Loudoun County Chamber, I am naturally asked one questionfarmorethananyother:“Whatshould I do to get the most out of my Chamber membership?” Myresponseisalwaysthesame:don’tjust

GreenBusinessChallenge,whichseekstoraise awarenessforenvironmentallysustainablebusiness practices that allow companies to “Save GreenbyGoingGreen.”OrtheChamber’sPublic PolicyAgenda,whichfocusesmoreonadvocating policies that will build a stronger Loudoun community, than on just business issues. Of course, to a Loudoun County readership, I might be preaching to the choir. This County has a strong tradition of community engagement, and that is on display every day. You see it in those who volunteer as coaches for youth sports, participate in a ministries at theirhousesofworship,serveasScoutleaders or give generously of their time and expertise to support one or more of the County’s many non-profit groups. It is that tradition of community engagement that has fostered the Loudoun County Chamber’sowncommunitymindedpriorities. For those who are looking for opportunities to build their business while building a stronger Loudoun County for their family and neighbors, the Loudoun County Chamber invites you to “Be a Part of It!”

Loudoun Business August 202  

The August 2012 issue of Loudoun Business

Loudoun Business August 202  

The August 2012 issue of Loudoun Business