Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The F22 fighter and more

Senator Chris Dodd (D, Conn) asks why the government can spend $65 billion to bail out the auto industry, but can't come up with $1.75 billion to produce a few more F22 fighter planes.

The answer, actually, is quite simple. The Pentagon doesn't want or need the planes. In fact, producing them would be counterproductive since there would then be less money (at least theoretically) to spend on programs the military does need -- e.g. counterinsurgency. Also, there is some chance that the government will be repaid all or part of its investment in the auto industry, which at least, theoretically, produces a product for which there is some demand.

It has been known for decades that investment in civilian industry produces more jobs and is more of a stimulus to the economy, than military spending (see, e.g.: http://www.njfac.org/us8.htm). Thus, the push to keep the F22 is potentially harmful to both the military and the general U.S. economy. This is, once again, an example of politicians acting narrowly without regard for the national interest. If anything, the Democrats may be slightly more to blame in this instance, since California and Connecticut are two (Democratic) states with a large stake in F22 production.

NEWS FLASH: The Senate has just voted to cut out the $1.75 billion for the F22, an important victory for Obama and for the country.

History Department:

Neal Gabler, in today's Boston Globe, reminds us that 12 of 19 Republicans in the Senate voted against Social Security when FDR was pushing it through Congress and, 30 years later, 17 of 30 voted against Medicare. Since then: "The Democrats have moved to the right and the right has moved into a mental hospital." (Gabler quoting Bill Maher).

Can you imagine what this country would be like, in this economic disaster, without these programs?

Here's Gabler's article:
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/07/21/hope_caught_up_in_a_sea_of_obstruction/

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