Tea party against taxes? Good luck!

Today is the day that a number of folks, angered by the nation’s taxing problems, will hold “tea parties” to protest rising spending, increasing debt and high taxes.

They are holding these parties on tax-built public buildings and lawns, getting to them on tax-funded public streets, using tax-supported mass-transit or tax-subsidized gasoline in their motor vehicles.

Tax subsidized gasoline? How much do you think gasoline would cost if we weren’t spending a hundred billion or so a year in the middle east? Even before the war we were spending more there to defend access to the oil than we were spending on the actual oil.

And so on.

It is funny to see the story about these tea parties in this morning’s Standard-Examiner right under a story about the F-35 fighter plane, an $83 million per unit upgrade for the Air Force. The story is about how ATK in Northern Utah is making parts for it.

Note, just parts — and our Congresspeople pictured with the story are proud of that. People who build airplanes for the Air Force try to make sure as many congressional districts as possible have a piece of the fighter plane pie so that their congresspeople will all have to vote for them so they can tell the folks back home how they’re bringing home the bacon.

Federal bacon, of course. Tax funded bacon.

So  Rep. Bishop and Sen. Hatch did vote for the F-35, and will continue to do so, and then they’ll both go to these rallies on their tax-funded highways, writing the cost of their own travel off to the taxpayers as official business, and rail against increased spending by the government because, good lord, can’t we do something about all this wasteful spending?

What really fascinates me is all these people want to cut taxes. Apparently that is the solution to our troubles. Oh, yes, and eliminate wasteful spending. George W. Bush doubled the national debt by cutting taxes, among other things. He fought two wars and said the way to pay for them was to cut taxes, an interesting financial theory at best.

What I don’t hear from any of these people is where to cut spending to balance the budget. Eliminate waste? If you can find a trillion dollars of waste in the government, send me the list.

But, I insist, it HAS to add up to $1 trillion. I want names and programs, too. Don’t just say “Hey, I knew a guy at Hill Air Force Base once who didn’t do squat. Fire him.”

I want his name, his work location, his salary, and you’ll need 16.6 million people like him, each earning $60,000 in wages and benefits, so it adds up to a trillion.

Good luck. The total federal work force, excluding the military, is less than 3 million.

Speaking of cutting programs: Good luck on that as well. 

Defense spending — dare one mention the F-35? — is sacrosanct, not only because all the flag wavers will fight any defense cut, but because defense spending is spread so far and wide, like the F-35, that it is impossible to get congresspeople to vote to cut it.

Cut out those disgusting entitlements? I am still waiting for someone, anyone, who feels this is the solution to go to their mother or father, take away their Social Security check, tear it up, and then have mom and dad move in with them.

 We could cut federal spending on roads. Let those leeches in the big states, the ones with cities far apart that require expensive highways to connect them, build their own roads or learn to live closer together.

Wait a sec. Is’t Utah one of those big states?  OK, never mind.

Here’s an idea: Let’s slap a user fee on people trampling the grass in front of our public buildings. It costs money to grow and tend that grass. Let everyone who walks on it pay a dime first so the struggling taxpayers aren’t saddled with yet another burdon.

We can start by collecting from the people who go to one of these tea parties. If they’re serious about cutting government spending, they should be proud to pony up.

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20 Responses to Tea party against taxes? Good luck!

  1. Catherine Hoffman says:

    I like this. Great thoughts and writing as always, of course.

  2. Flatlander100 says:

    Right on, Charlie! My favorite example from the west is all those farmers and ranchers who yell about cutting spending and getting all those loafers off welfare, etc. while they operate their farms and ranches on water delivered to them at 10 cents on the dollar by federally financed reclamation and water projects, or graze herds on federal lands leased at way below market rates, or accept federal agricultural subsidies totally billions a year. Or all three.

    Some years ago, when Republicans were in the majority in both houses, Newt Gingrich & Co. crusaded for what they called the “Freedom to Farm” bill. Get government off the backs of farmers, let the market prevail, it was, they said, the American and Republican way. It passed, but it never went into effect. Panicked Republican congressmen and Senators yanked it back and not only preserved but extended federal farm subsidies as farmers and farm corporations made plain to them that the “freedom to farm” should not mean the freedom to no longer receive fat federal subsidies.

    I think it was Bernard DeVoto [good Utah boy that he was] who commented that the attitude of westerners to the federal government could be summed up this way: “Send us money, then leave us alone.” He pretty much got it right, I think.

  3. dan s. says:

    We can cut government spending by starting right here in Ogden. The city is currently planning to spend $1.6 million on a new water tank above the Bonneville shoreline near Strong’s Canyon. According to the engineering study paid for by the city, this tank is not needed to serve any current water customers. It is needed only to facilitate future development high on the east bench.

    If you divide the cost of the tank by the number of residences in the city, you find that the average Ogden water customer will pay about $50 dollars for this new tank. Why should current water customers be paying higher rates to subsidize future development?

  4. Brent Glines says:

    There’s a difference between taxes spent on defense to replace the 40 year old F-15 and F-16 aircraft, and spending TRILLIONS spend bailing out financial institutions for corporate stupidity, and expanding entitlement programs beyond any hope of being able to pay for it, plus all the other impossibly huge spending hikes the Obama administration have in mind.

    We aren’t talking about stupid pork barrel spending here with regards to the proposed defense spending. There are no ‘Bridges to No Where’ involved here.

    Right now, the wings are no kidding falling off our aging fighter fleet (metal fatigue in wing spars, and so forth). This isn’t spending that can be deferred much longer.

  5. Jill Arave says:

    We are call extremists because we are not happy with the ridiculous amounts of money being spent by our corrupt politicians!

    For 8 years i have heard the liberals bash precident bush and the republican party. For 8 years they have yelled and screamed! We sat there and listened while all of you liberals made their point about how much the republicans were spending. Then when Obama and our liberal congress double the national debt. you all cheer and celebrate probably because you are all benefiting in some way from all of this pork barell spending.

    At least bush had a point to his spending. A war to fight terrorism, a war to free people. All Obama wants to do is make Americans dependant on the government, to pay for women to kill their embryos, and to add more corruption into the government

    Well Im sorry but they have gone too far! I do have a start of a solution, how about we quit paying congress and the president, while we are at it lets fire all the Govenors too. that should free up some money, then reorgaize the welfare system, how about we make people actually work for there welfare checks, if they dont work no check, That would free up a bunch more Im sure, Now its time to kick out the illegal immigrants, sorry get a green card or go home. wow ! now were talking.

    By the way Charles Ronald Reagan proved that tax cuts work. Maybe if you stopped thinking partisan than you would have realized that! That being said I jaust wanted to add Standard have you noticed how many people have stopped subscribing to your paper, get the hint we are tired of your liberal point of views!

  6. ctrentelman says:

    My, so many points:

    – I have no problem with upgraded F-16s. Most of the old models are gone anyway. New ones still only cost (only!) about $20 million and its a world-beater fighter to this day. Why not fill the skies with those instead of $80 million fighters too expensive to risk? Actually, given the type of warfare we seem to be embroiled in of late — pirates and insurgencies — the A-10 strikes me as a more reasonable choice.

    – Obama hasn’t doubled the national debt, just the annual deficit. OK, that’s a lot too. No question. But, keep in mind that Bush doubled the national Debt, from 4 to 8 trillion, or thereabouts.

    The budget was balanced under one recent president: Clinton.

    – Quitting paying congress, and all the governors, will not save anything like a Trillion dollars. Sorry, I thought I made my rules quite clear on this count. It MUST add up to a trillion dollars, and you must make specific cuts.

    – It will please you to know that anyone who goes to Utah’s Office of Workforce Services is required — yes, required — to find work. Very few exceptions. The welfare system was reorganized under President Clinton. What you seem to think of as welfare no longer exists in this country.

    – Ronald Reagan proved tax cuts worked? Interesting claim — was the proof the fact that the national debt (not annual deficit) doubled from one to two trillion under his care? Quite the success!

    – Actually, our subscriptions are up this year, and were last year, and obviously we haven’t lost you.


  7. Brent Glines says:

    “I have no problem with upgraded F-16s. Most of the old models are gone anyway. New ones still only cost (only!) about $20 million and its a world-beater fighter to this day. Why not fill the skies with those instead of $80 million fighters too expensive to risk? Actually, given the type of warfare we seem to be embroiled in of late — pirates and insurgencies — the A-10 strikes me as a more reasonable choice.”

    At the start of the Korean War, WWII vintage Mustangs, although cheap, were no match for Soviet built MiG-15s, and neither were the later F-80s, or F-84s. It wasn’t until the AF got the F-86 that the air war in Korea turned around.

    Planning your next conflict based on current situations has proven to be a bad idea as well. Going into Viet Nam, we were thinking Korea, and Air Force doctrine in the 80′s and 90′s was stuck in Viet Nam. Neither situation was optimal. As a former USAF F-4 air crew member, I speak from first hand experience.

    Equipping furture air forces based on conditions in Afghanistan will look pretty silly if China decides to move into Taiwan and then to Japan. What if Russia, which hasn’t been to cozy with us of late, decides it wants to pull Poland out of NATO and back into it’s sphere of influence? F-15s and F-16s are fine aircraft, but against a SU-37 http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1281276.html, I’d rather be flying an F-22. A-10′s? That would be a strafe rag for a SU-37.

    I’m sure that when the USAF gets their collective butts shot off in the next conflict because we decided to defund F-22s/F-35s in favor of universal bread and circuses for all, you’ll be the first to suggest something appropriate then as well. Perhaps a blue ribbon congressional panel.

    Yeah, that will be useful…

  8. Charles Trentelman says:

    But the F-22 and F-35 are leftovers from the cold war era, are they not? We have no idea what the next war will be. I can guarantee you that it will not be designed to accomodate any fighters we have. Quite the contrary. The first order of business will be to neutralize them — avoiding the clash of fighters you seem to envision. As we’ve learned in Iraq, air superiority means nothing to those who don’t need it.

    More to the point, and speaking of immediate threats, we now know that an F-35, or a $500 million destroyer, is virtually useless against 4 guys in a rowboat or, as we learned with the Cole and the Stark and as the Brits learned in the Falklands, a $20,000 cruise missile.

    Frankly, I’d rather find a way through diplomacy to avoid the insane spending race, which never ends and enriches only the military-industrial complex, so we could start spending money on ourselves.

    Your list of potential threats is a bit too “1984″ for my taste, and also reminds me of the cold war when Generals would go to congress and ask for billions for new toys because of the potential Russian threat they were always happy to detail. There’s always a potential threat that people who want these things are happy to bring up at every opportunity, but how real is the potential threat? And is this particular thing the best way to counter it?

    This is the same military that, a while back, said it really, just really really, had to have the Battleship New Jersey out active again. And so it was, at huge cost, and did nothing. It sailed up and down the Lebanese coast during troubles there and scared absolutely nobody.

    So, pardon my skepticism. Is it Eurasia or Eastasia this week? And does it matter? The point is to keep everyone afraid so they keep buying airplanes.

  9. Brent Glines says:

    The next conflict won’t be fought against 4 guys in a lifeboat.

    Your homework assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to get in touch with the Hill AFB public affairs office. Ask them if they can coordinate an unclassified intel briefing from the Fighter Wing. If you lie to them and tell them you plan on writing a supportive article, they may oblige you. I am sure they will speak glowingly of their current capabilities.

    Then ask them for a long range projected threat assessment for Russia and China, or any other potential adversaries they may be concerned about, and for an honest appraisal of the need for F-22 and F-35 aircraft.

    Let us know what you find out.

    People who don’t evaluate potential threats end up losing wars. I’d rather not find ourselves in that position.

  10. Charles Trentelman says:

    George Bush seemed to think the next conflict was being fought right now. I presume he was briefed.

    I rather resent your assumption that I am dishonest, or would need to be to get an interview with anyone. Sorry, I don’t work that way.

  11. brent glines says:

    I’m just trying to get you to do some actual journalism here instead of just rote recitations from the pacifist handbook. Who knows, you might learn something.

    Journalism. Google it.

  12. jlannefeld says:

    Charles -
    You are swimming upstream if you think your sagacious comments will persuade the majority in this, the reddest state in the union. It is very disheartening to suffer the ravages of a one-party, one-religion state. Clearly, a lack of a reasonable balance disallows much dissent and therefore, nothing reasonable ever transpires. A notable example is our less than esteemed junior senator (can you imagine 18 years in the senate as junior?) seeking to add a fourth term to his mediocre record. Sadly, he will spend a significant amount of money and overwhelm ant credible competitor. The truth is the electorate will re-elect him by substantial margin even without spending a dime. The only way to stop this lifetime office holding is through term limits. The majority agree, but then, we don’t really matter, do we? What’s a fella to do, Charles?

  13. ctrentelman says:

    keep plugging away. Sun tzu speaks of it. Attack where the enemy is not, never give up. People who leave Utah because they don’t like the politics dismay me — I am a Utahn too, I stay and fight. It is the only way.

    Mr Glines: This IS journalism. Commentary and discussion is part of what we do.

    Not sure what pacifist handbook you seem to think I am using — the history books I study make dependence on expensive machines of war out to be a very ephemeral thing — never lasting, always expensive and, in the end, easily outmaneuvered by some completely new tactic you didn’t see coming.

    Like an insurgency where the enemy soldiers shoot at you from behind trees when you think that bigger and better massed formations of soldiers is the way to go. Or the Stinger missiles we gave the Taliban to run the Russians out of Afghanistan. Good thing the propellant in those didn’t age well, eh?

  14. A mother and a child says:

    I realize part of my taxes are misused. Part of my OWN finances are misused – by me!

    I’m glad I have a job and can PAY taxes to support one of the most humaine and organized country in the world.

  15. Erin says:

    Sometimes it just gets too tiring to stay in Utah and fight this political fight over and over. When one is afraid to make new friends because of the differences one has with what feels like an entire state of people, it just gets to be too much. Good for you Mr. Trentelman for continuing to fight. Some of us are just too tired of it. You do give me hope though.

  16. brent glines says:

    This reply took a while, but it was a case of either say nothing at all, or unleash the torrent. So here is a wall of text on the subject. First a disclaimer. I am not a disinterested party on this topic. I graduated from the USAF Academy in 1976, spent 10 years flying the F-4 Phantom, and since leaving the Air Force in 1988, I have worked exclusively in defense related areas. I am currently employed at Hill AFB at the Software Support Facility.

    Charles Trentelman:”…the history books I study make dependence on expensive machines of war out to be a very ephemeral thing…”

    Well, by all means, lets discuss history, particularly the history of Air Power, since that is the crux of the matter with respect to F-22/F-35 funding.

    At the start of WW I, the US was woefully behind both Britain, France, and Germany when it came to fighter aircraft. At the start of the war, our pilots flew the French Nieuports because we didn’t have any aircraft that could compete effectively with the German Fokkers. The Spads flown later by Capt Eddie Rickenbacker, America’s top Ace, were also made by the French. The US didn’t have a combat fighter in WWI at all to my knowlege. This was not a good thing.

    Between the wars, the US tried to catch up in fighter development based on the lessons learned in WW I, but during the depression, development lagged. Further, the Army Air Corps subordinated the employment of aircraft strictly to the support of ground elements rather than realizing their utility in their own right, both tactically and strategically. Thus, at the start of WW II, the US was again behind the power curve compared to our adversaries.

    In Europe, Americans were flying mostly the older P-47 Thunderbolts. They had a good record against the German aircraft, but they lacked the range to be able to escort our bombers deep into Germany, and US bomber losses were high. It wasn’t until later in the war that the longer range P-38 Lightnings and P-51 Mustangs were introduced, allowing the Allies to achieve air superiority against the Luftwaffe.

    In the Pacific, at first the US was equipped primarily with the older Bell P-39 Cobras, the Gumman F4F Wildcats, and the Curtis P-40 Warhawks. None of these compared favorably with the Japanese Zeros. The US would have to wait for the introduction of the F4U Corsairs and the P-38 Lightnings in late 1942 and 1943 before much headway could be made in the Pacific.

    At the start of the Korean War, the US was flying the old WW II P-51 Mustangs for ground attack, with a minor air combat mission, and the new jets, the F-80 Shooting Star, and the F-84 Thunderjet. None of these aircraft could compete effectively with the Soviet built MiG-15. Only the F-86 Sabre could compete with the MiG, but even the Sabre was outclassed by the MiG in terms of ceiling, acceleration, rate of climb, and top speed. It wasn’t until the introduction of the F-86F which featured a more powerful engine that the F-86 achieved performance parity with the MiG. The F-86 enjoyed a very favorable kill ratio with the MiG-15, not due to the superiority of the aircraft, but rather due to superior training and tactics.

    At the start of the Viet Nam War, the US was flying the old F-105 Thunderchiefs, F-100 Super Sabres,and other older aircraft, but it wasn’t until the introduction of the F-4 Phantom that the US had an aircraft that could compete effectively with the more maneuverable Soviet built North Vietnamese MiG-17, MiG-19, and MiG 21 fighters. Even then, the Phantoms were handicapped in that the early F-4C and D models were equipped with missiles only, since Air Force planners thought the age of the dogfight was over. No internal guns meant that all the MiGs had to do was to wrap the Phantom’s up in a turning close in fight because the F-4′s didn’t have a short range close in weapon. This only improved with the introduction of the F-4E with it’s internal 20mm Vulcan cannon.

    Fast forward to 1979. Jimmy Carter is President. Defense budgets are slashed. Flying hours are cut. Aircraft maintenance budgets are stretched. At Kunsan Air Base, Korea, parts for the F-4D J-79 engines are in such short supply that half the jets in the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing are grounded. Jets are in such short supply that aircrews only are able to log the rock bottom minimum of 8 flight hours per month to maintain flight currency. Once you had your 8 hours for the month, you didn’t fly any more because the next guy in the squadron may not have his 8 hours yet, and would be grounded if he didn’t get 8 logged by the end of each month.

    On October 26, 1979, South Korean President Park Chung-hee is assassinated. US Forces are placed on high alert, and 1st LT Brent Glines finds himself in the cockpit with engines running on shelter alert with a full combat load, waiting for the launch order, because we fully expect the North Koreans to roll south towards Seoul to take advantage of the situation. Foremost in Lt. Glines’ mind is the thought, “Boy, it sure would have been nice to have gotten more than 8 FRICKIN’ HOURS A MONTH flying time recently before going to FRICKIN’ WAR, dont’cha think????” Fortunately for the Lieutenant, the North Koreans decide they don’t particularly want to face the Wrath of ‘Bugz’ Glines, and the rest of the Juvats from the 80th Tac Fighter Squadron (the Headhunters), not the mention all the other US Forces cocked and loaded on the peninsula, so war is averted, and my most pressing concern then is to get rest of my flamin’ 8 hours in for the month.

    At the start of the first Gulf War, for the first time ever, it seems, the US entered a war from a position of technological superiority. Although talking heads everywhere warned that it would be a disaster to engage the 4th largest army in the world, not to mention the vaunted Iraqi Republican Guard, after a lengthy build up, the Iraq army was pushed out of Kuwait, and Iraqi aircraft were largely not engaged other than when we destroyed them parked in their shelters. This was because the Iraqi’s knew that if they ever took off, they would be destroyed by coalition forces. The most comedic flight of the Iraqi Air Force involved the jets that took off and ran to Iran for sanctuary. The Iraqis hoped that their Muslim Iranian brothers would safeguard their aircraft to prevent them from being destroyed by the coalition. The Iranian’s promptly confiscated the aircraft, expelled the aircrews, and never returned the jets to the Iraqi’s. That’s a joke that just never get old with the telling!

    The next Gulf War is a repeat of the first, and needs no retelling here, except to point out that every jet in the US inventory gets thousands of hours added to those airframes. Aircraft designed and acquired in the mid 70′s are approaching their design limits. Avionics and weapons have been upgraded, but the basic designs are showing their age, and airframes now require additional maintenance to keep them flying.

    Right now, we are fighting in Afghanistan. Tomorrow, who knows where US Forces may be employed, and under what conditions? If you limit your forces to conditions that exist today, you guarantee that your adversary will engage you in a manner you are ill equipped to handle. Even when you enjoy technological superiority, your adversaries will still challenge you, as was demonstrated by Sadaam Hussain’s ill advised actions running up to Gulf Wars I and II. If you permit yourself to fall behind, not only are you more likely to be involved in a conflict, you will enter that conflict at a disadvantage with respect to air assets, as we did in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, and to some extent, in Vietnam. Catch up is not the game you want to play when it comes to air combat.

    So, I’ve spent nearly the last 40 years in one capacity or another directly involved with this issue, so I have devoted a lot thought to the matter. My concern is not with defense spending, taxes, jobs at Hill, or even my own livelihood as a Hill AFB employee, or anything so trivial. At one time, my own life depended on the sophistication or lack thereof of USAF aircraft, and now I support the current aircrews whose lives are on the line, and I am equally if nor more so concerned about the lives of future aircrews, and of the troops on the ground who depend upon those aircrews.

    F-15′s and F-16′s are capable aircraft, but the F-15 first flew in 1972, and the F-16 entered the inventory in 1976. Over 30 years is a LONG time to depend on a generation of aircraft, and with the increased sophistication of the air combat environment, these aircraft desperately need to be replaced. No one knows what future conflicts our forces may be called upon to fight, but if we want our crews to to be able to prevail, we shouldn’t ask them to fight 21st century battles in mid 20th century aircraft. Do we really want to have the tables turned, and like the Iraqi Air Force from either Gulf War, be afraid to launch our jets because of the near certainty of their being destroyed by a technologically superior opponant?

  17. Charles Trentelman says:

    mr glines,

    I get the feeling that we will never agree because we seem to be arguing at
    cross purposes — how about I agree that you are an expert on Air-toAir
    combat, the relative merits of various fighters, and the need to upgrade the
    F-16 and F-15 airframe.

    At the same time, how about you grant me the right to be bothered by the
    fact that this nation is spending more than every other nation in the world
    on defense while at the same time being told that it needs to spend more
    because what it has now is aging crap.

    While you’re at it, grant me the right to be worried that, by having quite
    so much wizz-bang technology sitting around that some politician is likely
    to forget that technology doesn’t win wars. get a wild hair up his butt and,
    as one unnamed Bush official is reported to have said, “Throw some pissant
    country up against the wall occasionally just to show the world who’s boss.”

    Not to mention the many who were named who knew so little about the country
    they were invading that they really did believe the war would be over by
    Christmas, even though many, many experts told them otherwise.

    I think we’ve had quite enough of that.

    And the right to be amazed that, while people like you argue very well and
    possibly correctly for at least some of that massive defense spending, too
    many others also argue that we need to cut taxes AND all other spending.

    My problem: What you describe as “bread and circuses” I see as necessary
    social spending to improve and maintain the lives of the Americans you are

    And, yes, unlike some, I’d be perfectly happy to see taxes raised to pay for
    this stuff. Why not? We’re about the lowest taxed nation on the planet now.
    People scream about their taxes going up $10 a month and then happily spend
    double that on cable TV. Really, that’s pathetic.

    During World War II my parents bought war bonds, as a kid I bought savings
    stamps and bonds, now some weird segment of the population screams that they
    don’t want to pay any taxes at all but they want new F-35s and they want
    their highways fixed, and they want a government official to be behind the
    desk when they go to renew their license plate because what else do those
    lazy slobs on the government payrole have to do?.

    And so on.

    These are all serious problems, Mr. Glines. New fighter planes won’t solve
    them. Screaming about taxes being too high won’t solve them. Telling
    everyone to get rid of “waste” in government won’t solve them either.

    And tea parties especially strike me as a waste of time.

    But if we don’t deal with these problems, you guys in the Air Force are
    going to find yourselves defending a country that has so many problems you
    may ask yourselves, at times, if it’s really worth the effort. I’d rathet
    that not happen and, I suspect, so would you.


  18. HJonez says:

    Sounds both coercive and stupid. Didn’t the majority of the people at these Fox tea parties get a tax cut this year?

  19. Charles Trentelman says:

    Yeah, they did, unless tea parties were attended solely by people who earn more than $250,000 a year. The Fox commentators get that much.

    It’s interesting to me how some have managed to frame the debate as “They are raising OUR taxes” when it is not OUR taxes being raised at all, just theirs and then not that much. Current tax hikes will still leave them lower than they were after Ronald Reagan got done with them.

    How the Republican party manages to get the nation’s poor to rise to the defense of the rich who get rich, in part, by not paying the poor squat, has always fascinated me. People whose minimum wage is still back in 1980 in terms of buying power get really angry over this stuff.

    It really is funny, most of those people spent their tax cut for that pay period getting to the rallies to protest tax hikes on someone else. Only in America does this make sense.

  20. Marshall says:

    Defense spending is ridiculous. Gates mentions any cuts and everyone flies into a fit of self-righteous rage. We don’t need laser planes, that’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard of. What we need is a well trained, well equipped, lean and mean fighting force to defend the country. That costs a lot less than the current research and development operation we have going with imaginary and impractical devices. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some government funded lab right now working on a billion dollar light saber to make the world a safer place. We need to cut, and it’s high time we cut defense. Sorry HAFB if that sucks for you. It’s for the good of the country.

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