By Charles P. Pierce
The president’s proposed Defense budget is already putting congressional dainties in a bunch, but we’d like to point out that within that budget, the F-35 fighter jet — aka, The Flying Swiss Army Knife, aka The Amazing Jet-Propelled Lemon Of The Skies — has managed mysteriously to survive once more.
The budget plan does keep money for the F-35 warplane, a project which has been beset by delays and criticism over design flaws.
That’s one way to put it.
In a new report for the Center for International Policy, William Hartung claims the number of jobs created by the F-35 is more like 50,000 to 60,000, and that the number of states in which it supports job creation is also far lower than Lockheed would have us believe. According to Hartung, Lockheed uses a much larger ratio of so-called “indirect jobs” – jobs created by companies that supply materials or other services for the F-35, or jobs created when those working on the F-35 spend their wages – than the academic literature warrants. Applying a more realistic ratio brings the job creation estimate down considerably. (Lockheed, of course, contests Hartung’s numbers.) “The bottom line is that the F-35 creates fewer jobs and affects fewer communities than Lockheed Martin and the other producers of the aircraft claim,” Hartung wrote. “This means that Congress and the executive branch can feel free to debate the future of the F-35 based on its strategic merits, not pork barrel politics.”
This, of course, is for a plane that doesn’t really work.
The same people doing the math here are the people doing the math for our old friend, the Keystone XL pipeline. Maybe they, too, are counting the strippers.