F-22: Can we interest you in extended protection, sir?

The Senate killed funding for more F-22s today. The Standard-Examiner’s editorial this morning on the issue touched off a wild debate in the news story comments.

These weapons systems brouhahas is Congress always remind me of the insurance and warranty industry sales processes and the consumer’s attendant dilemmas. Buy a car or an appliance and brace for the decision: Get maximum protection, or roll the dice. Will we need all those F-22s to fight a major war against the Chinese or the Russians, as Rep. Rob Bishop and the F-22 hawks warn? Or would we be blowing our dough on a needless extended service protection plan that’s really the underlying profit motive?

I’m skeptical of the salesmen in this case, mostly because these are the same guys whose arteries pop in outrage if the federal spending in question has something to do with, say, health care or global warming. The Defense secretary and the Pentagon don’t even want the extra planes. Bishop, Hatch and Bennett are trying to deliver the local bacon to please all of us locals, whose livelihoods derive directly and indirectly from fighter maintenance at Hill. But you’ll never hear them reveal the truth about that sweet warranty.

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10 Responses to F-22: Can we interest you in extended protection, sir?

  1. Jim Hutchins says:

    The fact that Sen. John McCain (a former fighter pilot) and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are against building any more F-22As should be a big, flashing neon clue.

  2. John Doh says:

    The Obama Administration is spending money like a drunken sailor on everything — except drunken sailors – or F-22s. He’s increased spending in every category, except defense (when you exclude day care centers). Why is it that Jimmy Carter, Bil Clinton, and now Obama – as democratic presidents, always think that we can gut our defense capabilities with no consequences? John McCain is a NAVY guy and never supports Air Force acquisition programs. He also crashed two F-14s in his ‘stellar” navy aviation career…so he’s hardly the expert. Instead, the 4-star Air Force General in charge of fighters says we need 243 of F-22s to maintain “moderate risk” in the future. I’d believe him over Obama, Gates or McCain, who are just playing politics on this program, and we’re all the weaker 10 years from now for it!

  3. Michael Trujillo says:

    John Doh says, “He’s increased spending in every category, except defense…”

    However:

    2009 U.S. Defense Budget = $515.4 billion

    2010 U.S. Defense Budget request = $534 billion

    Don’t you just hate it when facts get in the way of opinions.

  4. Doug Gibson says:

    I recall in the 80s, whenever Reagan said he was increasing spending on a program, his detractors said you had to factor in inflation or the percentage of total spending a program was compared to the previous year. Having not done the research, I’m not sure how that applies to the Obama administration’s increase in defense spending, but it would be interesting to know.

  5. Michael Trujillo says:

    Good point, Doug. I used part of my lunch hour to try to research that point but I really don’t know how to work it out. The inflation rate is posted in monthly increments but how that tranlates to the difference in prices between now and a year ago, I haven’t a clue. $534 B is a 3.6% increase over $515.4 B. Someone who’s more familiar with figuring the inflation rate can say whether it’s decreased or increased when “adjusted for inflation”.

  6. flatlander100 says:

    I find interesting the presumption in some of the posts above that the defense budget must ALWAYS increase, or the administration involved is somehow sacrificing the nation’s safety. I understand why what Republican President and General Dwight David Eisenhower called “the military – industrial complex” would be interested in fostering that assumption, but why it should be so uncritically accepted escapes me.

    I also find it interesting [and those goes back to the 1950s when I first became in any way aware of national politics] that those on the right are forever demanding perfect efficiency in all government social programs — food stamps, welfare, Medicare, etc. — and insisting that not a dime more should be spent until “all the waste and abuse has been eliminated.” But, oddly, they never seem to apply the same standard to the military budget. The occasional exposure of horrific fraud, waste and abuse never leads to cries of “not a dime more until we stop all the fraud, waste and abuse!”

    In fact, no huge government programs, involving necessarily thousands if not tens of thousands of people in their administration operates, or ever can, on 100% efficiency. No two-man storefront shop operates at 100% efficiency. Ever. Yes, we ought to work constantly to reduce waste, eliminate fraud, improve efficiency. But compete efficiency is impossible, and there will always be examples of fraud, waste and abuse for politicians to point to as reasons not to do something.

    Unless its the military budget, in which case fraud, waste and inefficiency doesn’t seem to matter.

  7. Mike Trujillo says:

    Hear, hear, flatlander. That’s kind of in the same vein as a person is only considered successful if, each year, they make more than they did the previous year. Nothing in nature grows with that kind of consistancy.

    I still don’t know if the Defense Budget is adequat or not. However, it seems to me that it doesn’t necessarily need to grow each year.

    Now, if I can just figure out how that G.D. rate of inflation can be figured out. I took too much science and arts in college and zero economics.

  8. navy says:

    Okay there are always 2 sides to an arguement. Everyone here seems to think that the military is asking for an absurd amount. There is nothing better the hearing the incoming sound of air support when you are far from home, and someone is trying to kill you. I mean our soldiers and marines while being volunteers, did not start this war, it was started by the same politicians that are now hamstring their ability to achieve their misson and return home to their families. If the air force says the planes are required then fine buy the damn planes to keep our people safe! The bottom line here is not the money, it’s ensuring survival for the men and women that are sent into harm’s way by the same politicians that are screwing them.

  9. laytonian says:

    Does anyone else remember the military under Reagan….and how much of that rush influx was spent on “beautification”? How many of those too-tall cubicles for **thousands** of employees, are still there? How many times have the buildings been recarpeted (when the “old” linoleum floors were easy to maintain and much much cleaner). Once buildings were painted, they always had to be painted. The individual Steelcase desks that were tossed, are now highly prized collectibles (because people like having drawers and surfaces that can be cleaned).

    Yeah…we remember those days.

    Now, there are red carpets rolled out on the flightline when dignitaries arrive, electronic message signs, and other UNnecessarily showy wastes of taxpayer money.

    Pork. It’s Pork. And it didn’t come from Matheson.

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