With corruption and abuse running rampant in Washington, D.C. coupled with a historic debt and massive deficit that some believe has the United States following in the footsteps of Greece, one would think the appropriators in Congress would concerns themselves with unnecessary and excessive spending, yet they are doing just the opposite.
The acquisition process related to the defense industry is a place where both Members of Congress and industry lobbyists have made a pretty good living by sending pork home and enriching the underbelly of the nation’s capital in the process.
Exhibit A: C-17
The facts are that the C-5 transport plane is being modernized to supplant the C-17 transport plane at a reduced cost. The Air Force has repeatedly stated that it does not want any more C-17s, yet Congress continues to fund new ones adding $1.5 billion to this year’s budget for five more, after it added $2.5 billion to last year’s budget for 10 more.
But what’s $4 billion among friends when your country has a long-term deficit over 10 trillion dollars?
Secretary Gates has openly campaigned against any new C-17s, stating emphatically that he will recommend a Presidential veto of any appropriations bill that includes new ones. Gates has said, “The leadership of the Air Force is clear: they do not need and cannot afford more C-17s.” Any questions?
And here comes the kicker. Just the other day, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Inouye was covered in a defense industry publication stating more money would be appropriated for the C-17. Inouye said, “Asked if he is trying to fund more C-17s in the fiscal year 2011 defense appropriations bill, Inouye replied: ‘I think the House will do so.’ Senators, he added, ‘usually go along with’ such action by the House.”
At a time when the deficit is exploding and we are mortgaging our children’s future, powerful Members of Congress continue to support defense systems that serve as nothing more than pork-barrel projects that even the military brass say we don’t need or want.
At what point do we ask, when is enough enough?