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DEFENSE: INDUSTRIAL CONVERSION

By - Peter Grier / September 23, 1992



There is no denying the fact that the end of the cold war will result in the end of many defense-industry jobs. That means economic tough times both for individuals and for regions such as Southern California, which have received a great deal of defense spending in the past. What, if anything, more should the United States government be doing to cushion the blow? BUSH

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Says best way to help defense workers is to improve overall state of economy through deficit reduction and investment incentives such as capital-gains tax reduction. Believes short-term dislocations can be handled by existing government programs. Recommends that funds for current government efforts to retrain dislocated workers be increased from $740 million to $2 billion annually, over the next five years.

Claims Clinton's defense cuts would put a million more Americans out of work than his own. Points to job-creating benefits of proposed fighter jet sales to Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. CLINTON

Says the resources allocated to winning the cold war should now be dedicated to filling unmet domestic needs. Proposes transferring all defense savings, dollar for dollar, into government investment in US infrastructure, research, and education.

Would offer military personnel retirement with prorated pension at 15 years, instead of 20, to encourage voluntary downsizing of armed forces. Proposes a 100,000-strong National Police Force that could employ many veterans. Backs an expansion of existing GI Bill to help train military personnel for important civilian professions.

Proposes special Small Business Administration conversion loans be made available to small defense contractors. Wants to make it easier to transfer excess military land to communities via such actions as changes in environmental requirements.