In the midst of another slow Northern Utah news day, we'll direct our readers' attention to a couple of back burner news items which appeared in the Standard-Examiner and the Salt Lake Tribune, a couple of days back. Although these stories didn't seem to be intentionally juxtaposed by the S-E and Trib editors, we can't help but believe that they may be interrelated, nevertheless.
Here's the lede from the S-E story, which appeared on the print edition front page on Sunday morning, and provides the gist:
HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Even without knowing the specifics of the upcoming military budget cuts and the recommendation of new rounds of Base Realignment and Closures, there is a lot of concern that the changes could affect Hill Air Force Base.Read the full S-E story here:
“It’s too early to know any of the details that they are thinking, but everyone should be worried,” said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced plans to cut military spending as the military recovers from a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Part of that plan is to close military bases in 2013 and 2015 [emphasis added].
And here's the lede from the 1/28/12 SLTrib story:
President Barack Obama used his weekly address Saturday to rip Congress for blocking his nominees, focusing his ire on Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.And here's the link to that (possibly interrelated) story:
Earlier in the week, Lee vowed to oppose all of the president’s picks for open judicial and federal positions to protest the way Obama skirted the Senate to fill key jobs at the National Labor Relations Board and the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
"One senator gumming up the whole works for the entire country is certainly not what our founding fathers envisioned," Obama said, not specifically identifying Lee but leaving no doubt which senator he meant to single out.
In his address, the president cited a comment Lee’s spokesman, Brian Phillips, gave to Fox News, saying the plan was to "delay and slow the process in order to get the president’s attention."
Utah Senator Mike Lee is clearly on Obama's "obstructionist" radar screen, and that he's most certainly "captured" President Obama's individed "attention." (Hopefully at this point our readers are getting the drift when we suggest that these to stories may be interconnected.)
For those who might be interested in reading a robust study on the probably devastating Utah economic effect of a Hill Air Force Base closure, here's a good scholarly study produced by a research team from University of Utah David Eccles School of Business in 2004, when the possiblity of a 2005 HAFB closure was last on the U.S. Executive Department table. It's sobering, to say the least:
- Economic, Demographic and Fiscal Impacts of Closing Hill Air Force Base: A Statewide and Regional Analysis
As for devastating projected local impacts, the study furnishes a VERY long list, so we'll just pick out one of them, for starters:
Short-Term ImpactsHopefully everyone, Utah lefties, centrists and righties alike, will take the time to read the above-linked analysis.
In 2009, the impact of closing Hill AFB will be a loss of 47,400 jobs, an annual decline of $2.35 billion in earnings and $2.29 billion in personal income. Hill’s closure shrinks the state’s economy by $3.58 billion (a decline of 2.6% from the projected baseline). The annual loss of state tax revenue will be $192.4 million.
The proposed 2005 HAFB closure was removed from the table during the presidential term of GOP President G.W. Bush of course, to the great glee of out mainly GOP Utah federal legislative delegation.
Can we see by a show of hands how many of our gentle readers believe Senator Lee is playing with fire? Is there anyone who believes that our Democratic Party President Obama will cut our Utah federal legislative delegation the same degree of leeway in re: HAFB as did GOP President Bush in 2005? Would it be a good idea for our sole Utah Democratic Party House Representative Jim Matheson to waltz over to the Senate Office Building, slap Mike Lee upside the head, and then politely ask him to "cool his jets"? (Maybe Matheson could even ask that a more than slightly "nervous" House Representative Rob Bishop might accompany him.)
What say you on this topic, O Gentle Ones?