Two of President-elect Barack Obama’s stated goals — cutting wasteful spending and saving or creating millions of jobs — are on a collision course in a looming decision over whether to keep building the F-22 fighter jet.
Air Force officials have told Congress that they are hoping to win a $9 billion commitment to produce at least 60 F-22s over a three-year period, which would expand the fleet to 243.
But the F-22, a stealthy, supersonic fighter that was designed during the cold war and has never been used in combat, has many critics, and they include Robert M. Gates, who will remain Defense secretary in the Obama administration.
So why would we consider spending another $9 billion on this albatross? Ummm, jobs, of course.
Meanwhile, supporters of the F-22 program — which has cost more than $65 billion so far — argue that Mr. Obama should extend its production, at least temporarily, to preserve thousands of jobs related to building the jets, which cost $143 million each.
Pardon me. I feel bad for the workers who would lose their jobs but let's get real.
The logic in supporting this program is like me making the case for charging up $100,000 on my American Express card for things I'll never really use because I want the frequent flyer miles for a first-class flight to Europe.