Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Congress and the deficit

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Congress has not yet engaged the deficit effort with any seriousness so far. From the Center for American Progress in an email:

Despite strong objections from the Defense Department, the House of Representatives has moved forward to fund a second engine for the F-35 fighter jet.

The Pentagon says that the alternative engine is a huge waste of money and has asked Congress to jettison the program, but the House decided to fund it anyway in the 2011 defense authorization bill.

The second engine is hardly the only example of wasteful defense spending from Congress: even though the Pentagon hasn’t requested any new C-17s — military transport planes — over the last four years, "Congress has appropriated $12 billion for 43 of the transport aircraft, including eight in the fiscal 2009 war supplemental spending measure and 10 in the fiscal 2010 Defense appropriations law."

As Congressional Quarterly pointed out, Congress’ insistence on funding a plane the Pentagon doesn’t want is "due in no small part to the lobbying efforts of Boeing Co., which builds the planes in California, Missouri, Georgia, Connecticut and elsewhere."

Boeing is also "belatedly lobbying for the purchase of five more C-17s at a cost of about $1.3 billion" for this year.

Earlier this year, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates addressed the lobby’s influence, saying he’s "fully aware of the political pressure to continue building the C-17" while announcing he would "strongly recommend that the president veto any legislation that sustains the unnecessary continuation."

As Pentagon officials told a Senate subcommittee this week, "it is not in the national interest to continue adding more C-17s. In our view, the production line should begin shutting down."

As the Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo points out, "This isn’t just about the upfront cost of purchasing more planes, which is considerable. It’s about then paying to maintain the planes for years.

The Pentagon actually spends $1 billion per year to maintain the 43 C-17s that it didn’t request, but received anyway."

President Obama has called the continued purchase of C-17s "waste, pure and simple."

This seems quite clearly a result of bribes donations to House members. We are facing a large deficit, which will get bigger if Congress manages to pull itself together and start to actually govern, extending unemployment benefits and doing a right-size stimulus, probably through building and repairing infrastructure. And so what does the House do? Vote to spend billions of dollars are military equipment WE DO NOT NEED. The Representatives voting in favor of that expense—in full knowledge that US spends on its military as much as the entire rest of the world combined—must be voted out of office and, hopefully, reduced to pushing their remaining belongings around in a shopping cart.

Written by Leisureguy

16 July 2010 at 2:01 pm

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