Forbes talks federal defense cuts

Published 11:19 am Saturday, June 16, 2012

Michael Clark, president of Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, presents U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., with a pie after he spoke at Cypress Cove Country Club on Friday. -- BRIAN WHITT/TIDEWATER NEWS

Proposed cuts to the U.S. defense budget could result in the loss of 128,000 jobs in Virginia, U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., told local business leaders Friday.

Speaking before 75 at Cypress Cove Country Club during a Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Forbes said that the nearly $500 billion in cuts would lead to a nationwide loss of 1.5 million jobs.

“The economic impact of these defense cuts will be felt by everybody in this room,” he said.

In addition, the mandated cuts come at a time when the Chinese government is experiencing a military buildup, Forbes said. If the cuts go through, the number of Navy ships will drop to about 250, which is “the lowest number in 100 years.”

In eight years Chinese submarines will outman American ones 78 to 32 in the Pacific, he said.

Forbes told the group that the idea of a strong military is just one of the country’s core principles that is being changed and shaken.

The others are the economy, the rule of law and freedom of religion.

There is a sense now that economic freedom is being challenged for the first time in decades, Forbes said.

“People realize the enormous debt puts our freedom at stake,” he said. “The next Congress, or the next president won’t be able to fix it because it’s too great.”

Forbes said property rights are under attack and this threatens the rule of law. He blames the Obama administration.

“The redistribution of wealth means a redistribution of property rights,” Forbes said. “Never before has the government’s goal been redistribution of wealth.”

This notion would cause business leaders from investing or hiring new workers, he said.

Freedom of religion also is under attack “in an enormous way,” Forbes said.

He said these principals must be fought for “to pass on a nation of freedom” to future generations.

Forbes said a key in this is to find common ground.

“What we’ve got to do is find common ground,” he said. “We need more conversations and more debates on the issues.”