If you want a perfect microcosm of what is broken about our political system, look no further than this story about a push in Congress to continue funding the production of a tank that the military says it doesn’t want or need. Why? Because it brings jobs to a key swing state.
Yet in the case of the Abrams tank, there’s a bipartisan push to spend an extra $436 million on a weapon the experts explicitly say is not needed.
“If we had our choice, we would use that money in a different way,” Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, told The Associated Press this past week.
Why are the tank dollars still flowing? Politics.
Keeping the Abrams production line rolling protects businesses and good paying jobs in congressional districts where the tank’s many suppliers are located.
If there’s a home of the Abrams, it’s politically important Ohio. The nation’s only tank plant is in Lima. So it’s no coincidence that the champions for more tanks are Rep. Jim Jordan and Sen. Rob Portman, two of Capitol’s Hill most prominent deficit hawks, as well as Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. They said their support is rooted in protecting national security, not in pork-barrel politics.
“The one area where we are supposed to spend taxpayer money is in defense of the country,” said Jordan, whose district in the northwest part of the state includes the tank plant.
Funny how just about the only things that you can get truly bipartisan agreement on in Washington are A) spending money that no one wants spent and B) flagrantly shredding the constitution in the name of stopping terrorism. Oh, and wars. Both parties usually line up to support any war that is proposed.