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Panetta Starts Singing Contractors' Tune After Closed-Door Meeting

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  • Lockheed Martin CEO Robert J. Stephens made $21.9 million (including $4 million in bonuses)
  • Northrop Grumman CEO Wesley G. Bush made $22.9 million
  • Boeing CEO W. James McNerney, Jr. made $19.7 million

Just these three organizations could afford to spend $10 million on lobbying so far in the 2011-2012 cycle, according to the Sunlight Foundation's Influence Explorer. In addition, they apparently had enough money left over to launch a nationwide, sustained lobbying campaign against further cuts to the war budget, though Blakey declined to answer a reporter who wanted to know how much they were spending on this "Second To None" push.

And, just a few months ago, Under Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter disclosed that the top 20 aerospace/defense contractors were sitting on $52 billion in cash and cash equivalents. (Blakey should know--she was sitting near Carter when he gave his remarks, and her organization hosts the audio of his remarks on their website.)

Feeling sorry for the contractors yet?

We don’t know what went on during that closed-door meeting with the heads of the major military contracting corporations, but apparently Panetta contracted their dishonest talking points. He should drop them, and he should drop the naivete. For the heads of these big corporations, this isn’t about the workers or the national security of the United States. Their repeated labor-related violations and other kinds of misconduct are proof enough of that. This is about scaring Americans in any way possible into keeping a few people at the top of these companies very rich.

We are at 9.1 percent unemployment. We need those jobs that we’re giving up through our massive war budget. When the deficit committee cuts, it needs to start at the Pentagon.

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