In 2001 Lockheed Martin won a government contract to create the Air Force’s new fighter jet – the F35. The initial contract was quoted at around $230 billion with a completion date in 2012.
Setback after setback has caused the engineers at Lockheed Martin to continue rolling out redesigns for the program. With each redesign comes an increase in cost.
Well now it’s 2014 and the price of the F35 has almost doubled! A whopping $400 billion dollars has been poured into this program – and they’re not done yet!
The latest problem with the F35 happened on June 23rd when a fire erupted in one of the planes just prior to a takeoff. Now all the planes have been grounded, and all training halted, while Lockheed Martin figures out what else they need to do to correct another potential design flaw with the newest fighter jet.
Now that $400 billion dollar number may be eclipsed due to this next unforeseen setback. All of this is working up to a staggering cost where a single jet program may reach up to the range of a half-trillion dollars.
Congress still refuses aid to the men and women who served in uniform. Over 300,000 veterans are currently unemployed and running out of unemployment benefits. While Congress has been languishing in their ability to get anything done servicemembers have been leaving the military at an accelerated rate.
Due to the drawdown after both the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the military has been cutting people that traditionally could have stayed in through their 20 years to retirement. Now, at 16 or 18 years, some veterans are finding themselves out of the service, out of a retirement, and out of jobs.
Oftentimes without a significant amount of retraining veterans find themselves disadvantaged in comparison to the rest of the unemployed public. There isn’t much call for warfighters in the civilian world.
Yet Congress, which invested so much into pushing these same people into war, refuses to aid them in this transition. The military budget is drafted and approved by Congress – so rather than paying service members for their continued service they have decided to again cut the pay of the workers via personnel cuts, while increasing the wasteful spending on another military flight program.
On top of that Congress voted against extending unemployment benefits to some of the hardest working of the American populace – the veterans. This “know-nothing” “do-nothing” out of touch Congress could care less about their veterans. They do a disservice to those that serve and then claim to “honor the troops”.
It is beyond time that we ween ourselves off of the teat of the Military Industrial Complex. Eisenhower gave us an ominous warning back in 1961. When will we stop waging fruitless wars and start fixing our own nation?