Monday, February 8, 2010


The Defense Budget is hawribble! Again.

Over a trillion dollars when you account for all the non-defense stuff the defense department still gets paid for (protecting our diplomats abroad, for example, is something the Marines did until they gave the contract to the company formerly known as Blackwater, Xe).

This seems like a lot of money. I understand we're fighting two unwinnable wars at the same time, and in order to remain tough-looking, we have to keep doing that. So that's a bit of a drain on the old coffers. But perhaps there are a few things we could think about ending, or reining in, or something. Like the F22 Raptor, which apparently can't be flown in the rain, because it'll rust. $138 million bucks per plane, and they f$%king rust.

I'd also be curious about the V-22 Osprey, known for killing its occupants at an alarming rate. This is one of those, "wouldn't it be cool if this worked" sort of projects, where the rotors that are supposed to drive the plane forward can be tilted straight up to raise the airplane off the ground. Basically a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (or VTOL) plane that uses blades instead of jets. Unfortunately, if things go wrong high up (but not high up enough to deploy a parachute) the plane will belly-flop or flip over or just plain explode. $110 million per aircraft. They say they've fixed all the problems, but when you've had a test flight drop straight into the Potomac in front of various congresscritters, you'd think that's be enough to kill it.

Not so in pork-land.

It's like the growth of private prisons. Once you've started down this path, it's really hard to pull back. The DoD is a rapacious monster, and it likes its appropriations. It doesn't like to give them up. It's all about local job creation after all. Which is why the one thing we manufacture in large quantities in this country are munitions.

Can we go back to making toasters? Refrigerators? Brooms? Anything that doesn't go boom?

I know, not enough political payback.

PS: to the Repugs/Libertarians reading this: why is it, if Government is such an awful waste of money, do you trust them to spend wisely when it comes to the DoD? It's the biggest expense there is. It's 55% of GDP in this country. Why do you think they'll do that right and do everything else wrong? What's wrong with you?

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