As the various actors in Washington's latest theatrical presentation of "The Fiscal Cliff", once again take their places on stage, the majority of the American people have this feeling that they have seen this play before; in fact, more times than they would have liked. This is a play that has the same fabricated plot, the same old actors, all leading, without a doubt, to the same contrived ending.
While there is a great need for this government to enact legislation that would substantially increase the tax on the wealthiest of Americans to avoid going over the cliff, this article will concentrate on the one option that I believe holds, by far, the greatest potential for reductions in government spending. It is the staggering, completely out of control spending on the military and security that so far has been declared off-limits.
Does this country need a powerful military to safeguard the security of the American people and defend it against potential attacks by rogue nations? Absolutely, without a question, we must always maintain a powerful military. America, in my opinion, also has a responsibility to be a leader in maintaining peace and stability in the world but that does not call for it to continue to dominate it. It's time for this government to stop acting like the policeman of the world with an expanding empire whose massive costs can no longer be sustained.
There are very competent, knowledgeable individuals within the military establishment that agree with this premise and have presented concrete recommendations for making changes that will maintain the military's strength but that will not lead America into financial collapse. It's time for President Obama to listen to these voices of knowledge, experience, logic and reason.
Mr. Obama would do well to read this article, "Generals: Get real and cut Pentagon spending" presented by two highly respected retired generals, Robert Gard and John Johns. It's among the very best I have ever read. Here is an excerpt from that article: "Today, the use of manned aircraft is more and more limited. Our leaders must have a serious debate about priorities: America needs political resolve to kill unnecessary and expensive projects."
Here is a great example of what these generals are talking about. The development of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, now in its twelve year, has been budgeted at $396 billion, including research and development. The plan is to build 2,443 by the late 2030s. The military is also desperately trying to figure out how to reduce the long-term costs of operating the planes going into the future, now projected at $1.1 trillion; to spend that monumental amount of taxpayer dollars on just one weapon in the massive U.S. military arsenal is a perfect illustration of how out of control this nation's military machine is.
And here's yet another example of a tremendous waste of taxpayer dollars. The F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jet is the single most expensive fighter jet in history at a total acquisition cost of an estimated $79 billion for 187 planes, meaning each plane costs approximately $420 million.