The Fight Over the F-22

Today the senate voted in line with the wishes of Obama and secretary of defense Gates to not order more f-22 fighter jets. The amendment that stripped funding for 7 additional jets was introduced by senators Levin and Mccain. An informative post is here.

Due to the vote today, there’s a really nice NPR segment on the F-22 debate:

The Fight Over the F-22

All the speakers are really knowledgeable and since its NPR, the discussion gets to go on for a while.

One interesting point that got debated a lot in this segment is the economic value of jobs as it relates to F-22 production. According to Lockheed, there are 70,000 jobs at stake, and Saxby Chambliss, the senator from Georgia where a lot of the F-22 is made, made this point in defending the F-22.

This panel concluded that this job argument was deceptive because the F-22 supplemental was not an increase in money, but just a reallocation of it. Since, the supplemental bill does not add or subtract procurement money, the money for the F-22 is zero sum. The money, rather than going to the F-22, will now go to some other military program. Thus, total jobs will remain roughly the same. Chambliss probably just doesn’t like the fact that jobs in his state will be lost, even though total jobs will remain roughly the same.

Also, the job argument for defense spending is a poor one. This nicely done little study by two economics professor at UMASS Amherst shows the defense spending is one of the worst generators of jobs, and that spending in other sectors has a quicker employment boost.


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