The Emperor told the assembled masses recently that only 3,000-4,000 contractor jobs will be lost on the southern right coast after the shuttle retires in 2010, about half of the worst-case scenario of cuts previously envisioned. Famous for multiplying whole objects by 1/2 (i.e., launches, SRB segments, costs, risks, etc.), we are not surprised by these latest calculations coming from the Dear Leader With the Six Degrees.
Basing the lower figure on the greater level of vehicle assembly and manufacturing that supposedly will take place at KSC as compared to the shuttle era, the Emperor declared victory using an old ploy. First, he put out the really bad news, and then he followed up with the not so bad news to make everyone feel better. Even Sen. Nelson took the bait.
It's still 3000-4000 people who won't be working Christmas Day 2015.
2015? What about 2010?
That's the real kicker. Both numbers are correct. For you see, if you don't REALLY have any of that assembly work to do in 2010, because you are still designing bladder cushions for the rocket riders, you really don't need all those people at KSC for awhile. So, 7000 gone in 2010, hire back maybe 4000 in 2015. We're not sure what the other 3000 will do in the interim, but if you ignore the time interval then the Emperor's new math holds in the net sum.
Of course, there is one gotcha. Factor in Viceroy Gilbrech's proclamation for the new Operability Czar that he cut operations costs in half, to $1.5B a year, and most people would correctly assume that roughly half the people have to go...and stay gone. KSC employs 14,000 contractors today. You do the math.
Hasta la vista, baby.