WASHINGTON: Sequestration, sequestration, sequestration — that was the one note the Aerospace Industries Association struck over and over at its biggest annual public event.

Flanked by AIA’s now-iconic clock counting down 27 days before the sequester destroys “two million jobs” (a disputed figure), President Marion Blakey declared: “I’m an optimist and we have to prevail.” But with automatic budget cuts slated to take effect Jan. 2, unless Congress and the White House reach an increasingly unlikely deal, just how forestalling the sequester isn’t entirely clear. Nor did Blakey endorse the bold proposal of one of its member CEOs to raise corporate and individual tax rates as part of a deal. Keep reading →

[updated Wednesday 12/5] WASHINGTON: Top executives from four major defense and aerospace firms sent a message to Congress and the Obama administration today: the nation expects its elected leaders to lead and the well-paid executives are willing to accept higher personal and corporate taxes on the path to find a solution to the nation’s fiscal woes. On top of that, they conceded that the Pentagon budget must be cut even more deeply than the $487 billion already targeted over the next decade to seal an increasingly elusive deal to stop the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration.

David Langstaff, CEO of an engineering and analysis services company called TASC, issued the strongest call for additional defense cuts. Those who have benefited from past national spending “should be willing to sacrifice,” he said. That means tax increases, bitterly opposed by most Republicans, and “reform,” which usually means the kinds of cuts to the big entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare that most Democrats refuse to discuss. Keep reading →