If you’re talking to someone and they bring up how the government doesn’t have enough money to X for any given X, you can dismiss them as not serious if they are not putting ‘defense’ spending on the chopping block.
Cock an eye toward the US budget and you’ll notice that the democrats have drummed up a bipartisan spirit of spending money like literally never before – no other country in history has spent this kind of wealth on their military. “Oh, No! There’s no money, that’d cost trillions!” is the bipartisan consensus, then they wait ’till the cameras are on the distraction in the oval office and approve the initial phases of a $1.2 trillion nuclear ‘refresh’ or cost increases in the F-35 program – another $1.2 trillion pork-barrel.
The cost of the F-35 just spiralled up a little more, and there was little notice. I suspect anyone who is actually concerned about the budget simply groans and puts their pillow over their head and waits for it to go away. Or, they chalk it up to nationalism as suicide and figure the damage to the planet won’t affect them in their lifetime so it’s the kids’ problem that they haven’t risen up and murdered the corrupt cogs in the corruption machine.
I’ve explained this before, [stderr] but let’s review it again, since it’s the trick that congress and Lockheed-Martin just played on the taxpayers: pay more, get less. Suppose you’ve entered into an arrangement with me to buy 10 apples for $10 – $1/apple. I ask for a downpayment of $5 to fund my obtaining the apples for you. But because my lobbyists did a great job of wining and dining you, you agree to accept 8 apples for $12 instead. Now, why would you do that? It’s simple: I already have $5 of your money and you still don’t have any apples – at this point you’re in the hole and if you walk away from the deal you’ve lost your $5. I never agreed to refund any of it if I couldn’t get you the apples. So, you agree to 8 apples for $12, which means the per apple price is not $1 any more – it’s $1.50. Sure, you agreed to a minor cost hike of $2 on top of the $10 you agreed to, but if you want the 10 apples, you’re going to pay $15 for them. Congresspeople understand this, they just pretend to fall for it over and over and over because they’re in league with the apple salespeople.
Anyway, that’s why nobody can afford a “Green New Deal” – because they’re pretending to be such fiscal dumbasses that they buy F-35s. And that, right there, is the simplest way to understand the whole situation: instead of improving infrastructure, or education, or helping transition the US to a green economy, the leaders of the US have collectively agreed that they’d rather have new nuclear weapons and F-35s.
Bloomberg reports: [bloom]
“The F-35 program remains within all cost, schedule and performance thresholds and continues to make steady progress,” the program office said in its statement. The office “is committed to the delivery of cost-effective warfighting capability across all areas of the program.”
Imagine if you paid for a first class seat on an airline and they told you you had a choice of either walking, or settling for an economy class ticket on another flight. Then, when you agree to that, they tell you there’s a baggage surcharge of $50 for your suitcase. When you finally get to your destination they pat themselves on the back and say “the flight was on time!” That’s what the program office for the F-35 is doing: “Now that we’ve moved the goalposts, we are really close to our goals!” I would like to beat the program office with a tire-iron for even uttering the words “cost effective” in the context of the F-35 program. That’s a lie that’s so out of line that even Trump would have trouble telling it.
Instead, the increase reflects for the first time the current cost estimates for a major set of upgrades planned in coming “Block 4” modifications, according to the report.
“Ensuring our Block 4 efforts are captured in our acquisition baseline and now in our SAR help us to provide full transparency and status on our F-35 modernization progress,” the Pentagon’s F-35 program office said in an emailed statement.
The Block 4 efforts that congress is being expected to pay more for, are the “upgrades” to make the aircraft work more like it was supposed to. The way the “Block” system works is that the features and functions of the aircraft have been divided out into capabilities that the taxpayers will pay for in chunks as they become available. In some cases, the features and functions will obsolete older airframes (which is a nice way of saying: the taxpayers never get what they paid for) – so, you may be able to upgrade a Block 3 F-35 to a Block 4, but a Block 1 is probably already obsolete because there may have been features of the Block 1 airframe that have been improved (i.e.: made to work) in Block 2.
Green New Deal and social reformers haven’t established a long con technique like the DoD and its minions, that’s why they keep losing the budget wars in Washington.
As a potential sign of concern, the Pentagon’s fiscal 2021 proposed budget calls for 17 fewer F-35s than planned – 81, according to the Selected Acquisition Report.
If they’re getting 17 fewer, and the new number is 81, that means the old number was 98. If the price hadn’t gone up, that would be an 18% mark-up. But they’re paying an additional $22 billion.