The F-22 Was So Shovel Ready It Just Got Shoveled Out The Door

July 21, 2009 11:59 am

by Icarus · 57 comments

Jim Galloway over at the AJC brings us the news:

The U.S. Senate just approved a measure to strike increased funding for the Marietta-built F-22 Raptor.

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss led the support for the purchase of seven additional stealth fighters, forming an alliance with Democrats from states whose economies would be affected by the vote.

The vote was marked by a cross-party flow. John McCain (R-Ariz.) allied himself with President Barack Obama, who promised to veto the defense spending bill the extra F-22 spending were not removed.

Two of the more notable votes against extra spending were John Ensign (R-Nevada) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). Moderate Republican Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) sided with Chambliss.

My quick take is that you’ve got Republicans desparate to show they can cut spending on something coupled with Dems who generally show military spending as an anathema, despite their rhetoric on throwing money to any project that could hire anyone quickly. Apparently the dems are too busy celebrating “working people” to care about the few thousand rich folks over on the assembly line in Marietta.

We’ve covered here before that the F-22 has never had the largest political fan base in either party, despite that the plan has parts built in almost every state. But I still find Obama’s insistance on killing this program interesting in light of the fact that is employs thousands in high paying, high tech jobs.

Will be interesting to see how the loyal union members over at Lockheed Marietta choose to blame for this. Got to wonder how that “Hope & Change” is working out for them. I wonder if ACORN pays the same wage and benefits as Lockheed. At least we know they’ll be guaranteed a minimum of $7.25/hr if they can find new work.

Doug Deal July 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm

Although the F-22 is a great aircraft, they cost around $350 million a unit to build. On the other hand an F-16 costs about $17 million to build to modern standards. That’s a 20:1 cost ratio.

Would you rather have an airforce with 1,000 F-16’s or 50 F-22’s? Should national defense be a jobs program?

These super expensive aircraft are a bad idea. We probably should be moving toward cheap drone fighters anyway, since an unmanned jet can tolerate much greater G-Forces and the pilot and his training is not lost when he loses a dogfight.

Joshua Morris July 21, 2009 at 12:43 pm

Not sure it’s a quantity concern. It’s about superiority. We ought to be very sure that we’ve got the most advanced fleet of fighters and bombers. F-16s are great, but our enemies have planes that can match them. If a conflict calls for the abilities of the F-22, we need to have enough of them available.

What do we do about the F-35 (http://www.jsf.mil/)? And what do you think unmanned fighters and bombers would cost?

Joshua Morris July 21, 2009 at 12:45 pm
Doug Deal July 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Unmanned fighters would be cheaper than equivelent manned fighters because there is no reasont to protect a human pilot. Armor would still be needed to protect vital components, but redundent systems would last longer in the end.

With a drone, you do not want to needless lose a plane, but if you do, you do not have a casualty, and secondly you do not lose a pilot that has taken millions of dollars to train. Plus, AI could learn from it’s mistakes and get better over time and the next plane off the assembly line already has a trained pilot sharing the knowledge of all the other AI. You could even program a squadron of fighter drones with multiple “personalities” so the enemy cannot exploit a single tactical weakness.

The problem with the high tech super expensive “most advanced possible” route is that if you are then outnumbered 20-1 or more by planes that are a generation younger, it is not going to matter much how more superior you are, attrition will work it’s magic.

Try protecting the entire US air space with 50 F-22’s when you could have 1,000 F-16’s for the same price.

Politicans love to spend money in the name of national defense, but I bet most of these programs are despite the disapproval of the actual generals in the field.

Joshua Morris July 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm

I don’t disagree with your reasoning, but I’m looking at the fact that we have lots of F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s, A-10s, etc., and we’re not building anymore of those. The F-35 is supposedly meant to replace the F-16 and A-10, but will we be able to afford it? We’re saying now that we can’t afford to build 7 more F-22s to add to the 187 we have.

I concede that Defense Secretary Gates says we don’t need them, but with him saying they’ve “outlived their usefulness,” should we have built any of them at all?

I just don’t understand the reasoning behind current military aircraft production philosophy based on these statements. We’re currently expecting to spend around $1T on 2,443 F-35’s ($409M each) that are meant to ‘supplement’ the F-22s, and we’re making a big deal about $1.75B for 7 F-22s ($250M ea). Cutting the F-22s, which we may eventually need, at about .2% of the cost of the F-35s we’re planning to build long term to supplement them just doesn’t quite seem straightforward to me.

Doug Deal July 21, 2009 at 2:26 pm

The whole thing is incredibly bloated and a bad idea.

$1 Trillion? That is enough for 58,000 F-16 or about the same number of F-14’s. The current cost projections are for a $400 million per unit plane for the JSF, but how much will it be in the end with cost overruns, $1 Billion each?

It is sad that people now talk about Billions like they are nothing. One Billion is about equal to the median household income of 20,000 Americans. That means the total income used to support 50,000 people. All this for one or maybe 2 planes in the case of the JSF and 3-4 planes in the case of the F-22.

If we ever did go to war with a capable adversary, we would lose, and lose badly.

Daniel N. Adams July 21, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Geez, how are we going to expand our military industrial/banking empire if we get rid of the Fed and don’t build more F-22’s. You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorist,…. you unpatriotic, bed wetting, dope smoking, flag burning, pacifist lib’ral.

Matt Schafer July 21, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Intelligent machines with personalities flying powerful ground-attack airplanes…. Have you not seen the Matrix, Terminator, Battlestar Galactica?

Is it not bad enough that the army is looking into armed robots that can refuel themselves via “Bio-Mass” that can include dead bodies, but you want to give them air support?

Doug Deal July 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm

You read/watch too much dystopic science fiction.

Automated air combat is inevitable. The last to adopt it will be the one to lose air superiority.

rugby July 21, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Dude, we’ve still got huge relative and absolute advantages with or without the F-22.

Joshua Morris July 21, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Whew! I feel better. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing all this R&D for new planes, then. We should just chill for a while and let the rest of the world catch up a little bit. How long do you think that would take?

LoyaltyIsMyHonor July 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm

I say we bring back the Battleships…never know when someone my roll one of those big fat bastards out?

Josh, I guess you’ve never heard of the saying that Today’s Generals are always trying to fight yesterday’s war?

Anyway, production will continue for a few more years, plus, we can always sell stripped down version to our allies, like Japan…or do you still not trust them ;)

rugby July 21, 2009 at 2:28 pm

If we cut all spending–around a century.

Doug Deal July 21, 2009 at 2:32 pm

LIMH,

You do realize that in WWII, in the areas that we were not outclassed by the Germans in technology, we were outclassed by the Japanese. We won because of our industrial might and efficiency, not because of our technological superiority.

The Me 262 had a kill ratio of 5-2 against allied planes, but the 100’s planes that Germany could afford had no chance against the 1,000’s of lesser aircraft the allies put against them.

You are right, we are fighting the last war. We are fighting WWII as the Germans.

JSBarrington July 21, 2009 at 12:30 pm

I understand the argument to shut the program down. But come on, you are going to choose now with close to 10 percent unemployment to shut down the F-22 manufacturing and put 22,000 employees in Georgia alone out of a job? I would be fine funding a defense item to maintain jobs.

Doug Deal July 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I would be fine funding a defense item to maintain jobs.

Perhaps this is why we are in such deep debt now. Let’s just get our children to pay for it.

John Konop July 21, 2009 at 2:29 pm

I agree with Doug!

Doug Deal July 21, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Thanks John. We don’t always agree, but I do generally respect your opinion.

Goldwater Conservative July 21, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Any of you right-wingers care to mention the part about Lockheed already stating that they will not be downsizing the 2000 employees that work on the F-22 project?

Thats right….2000 not 22000 jobs. On top of that…they aren’t going anywhere.

Typical conservative bias…reporting by omission.

Bill Simon July 21, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Wow, Goldwater is still alive…

Goldwater Conservative July 22, 2009 at 8:23 am

Yeah, still hanging on for now. I am getting ready to try an old trick by moving to out west to a less humid climate to see if it will allow me to feel any better.

I have been in the hospital for the past 2 weeks again and am stuck with facing the fact that I will probably not see the Caribbean again.

Anybody in the market for a house in Martinique?

Jason Pye July 21, 2009 at 3:38 pm

F-22’s are out of date. Obama and the Senate should get credit for cutting this.

Now, if they can just axe the rest of the pork.

rugby July 21, 2009 at 3:46 pm

True.

F-22s can’t even fly in the rain FFS.

Jeff July 21, 2009 at 5:56 pm

The problem is, again, government regulation.

Seriously.

The DoD has all kinds of hoops you have to jump through to get any kind of R&D project off the ground with them.

Personally, I would LOVE to see MORE of Dale Brown’s weapons on the battlefield. Outside of Tin Man, CID, and MAYBE the plasma yield nuclear weapons and COIL lasers, there is very little reason 90% of his tech couldn’t be on the battlefield right now.

And DD, I don’t know if you’ve read the guy’s stuff, but he’s been working with unmanned B-52’s and B-1’s (highly modified in both cases to be both genuinely stealth AND serve as BOTH bomber AND fighter) for about 5 years already. This, in addition to his FlightHawks and StealthHawks, which are unmanned planes capable of being hung under his B-52s’ wings and launched, recovered, refueled, rearmed, and relaunched from the ‘mother’ B-52.

Ladies and gentlemen, if the next few generations of air combat weaponry haven’t already been described by Brown, what comes out will more than likely be pretty dang close to it.

On the ground, I actually like the new BioBot or whatever they’re calling it. I could actually see cruise missiles – specifically the real-life Sensor Fused Weapons missile, based on Brown’s Wolverine cruise missile – not only being used for SEAD (suppression of enemy air defense) missions, but also to put several of these ground bots with various missions and varying levels of autonomy on the battlefield.

You complain about 5K or so dead in Iraq in 5 yrs?

Within 50 yrs, a human on the battlefield, at least on our side, will be a RARITY. Humans will be sent in only after all (or at least the vast majority) of the bad guys are already dead. Instead, those humans will probably be in some bunker somewhere, directing the bots – or just watching them.

rugby July 21, 2009 at 6:39 pm

“The DoD has all kinds of hoops you have to jump through to get any kind of R&D project off the ground with them.”

Because they don’t want sensitive defense secrets to go to just anyone? Because when you’re spending millions of dollars on a single airplane you wanted it done well?

Jeff July 21, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Rugby,

I’m not talking about all the security issues. Even though some might think some of the more extreme measures are a bit paranoid, I can appreciate most of them.

But I’m talking about the micro-management level requirements such as exactly what programming language must be used (to my knowledge, this has been one that has been scrapped by and large, but once upon time you HAD to use ADA – no other language allowed) and exactly what the code has to look like (such as no more than x characters per line, braces have to be in just the right spot, etc), or exactly what kind of bolt has to be used or exactly how many stitches a particular piece of cloth must have.

ByteMe July 21, 2009 at 7:58 pm

Jeff,

Some of it is indeed the DoD and their “standardization” rules that can often get in the way.

Other times, it’s just Congress micromanaging the DoD budget to maximize their own political contributions. That’s the part I think needs to stop. Congress should stop allocating DoD budgets by the project and let the executive branch do its job.

Jeff July 21, 2009 at 8:14 pm

Very true, and I concur. Congress needs to START doing its job of only funding declared wars, and STOP doing the Executive’s job of maintaining the military.

Goldwater Conservative July 22, 2009 at 8:05 am

Then campaign contributions need to stop being protected as free speech.

Common Sense July 21, 2009 at 4:20 pm

“This spring, Georgia’s congressional delegations said they were assured by Lockheed Martin that the 2,000 employees who assemble the F-22 will probably still have their jobs with or without the plane.”

Context, context, context

Steve Perkins July 22, 2009 at 6:35 am

Throw $20 billion at infrastructure, health care, or education… and you’re a “socialist”. Throw the money at building jet fighters (to fight Al Queda’s non-existent air force), and you’re a patriot.

The Department of Defense should not be a jobs program. If you MUST piss away money regardless, why not spend it on more useful things?

Jeff July 22, 2009 at 7:40 am

‘terrorism’ may be the current overt threat, but considering how rapidly world events can change and how slow the R&D process is, it is better to be prepared for ALL threats.

And Russia and China are still adversaries, even if the threat from them isn’t quite as big as a couple of decades ago. Furthermore, India is rapidly developing, and even current ‘allies’ in Europe should never be completely trusted when it comes to our own national defense.

I agree, air superiority fighters/stealth dang near anything are not really needed against a threat like ‘terrorism’ so much as devstating, extremely accurate, and extremely rapid technologies, or tech such as the BioBot (again, I don’t know its actual name, sorry) that can remove humans from harm’s way to begin with. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still look at what the NEXT threat may be.

Goldwater Conservative July 22, 2009 at 8:20 am

Ever hear of M.A.D.? It is a worst case scenario, but we still operate under the umbrella of such a travesty.

I hate to bring up the line: “Typical conservatives”…but it does apply. Conservatives think of warfare in very 19th century terms. What makes any of you think that we need bullets, bombs and advanced fighter jets to defeat a conventional enemy? Terrorism is one thing. Fighting another country is another. The United States can do more damage with a few keystokes than it can with a nuclear warhead or a multi-million dollar fighter jet.

China and Russia are allies of the United States. Stop trying to bring back cold war politics…it is futile.

I have brought this up before, and I will bring it up again. One of the most rewarding conversations I have ever had was with Henry Kissinger about 6 years ago. As much as I wanted to talk about his favorite single malt scotch, being a fellow academic, I found discussing international relations to hard to pass up.

Listen people, 85% of all internet servers in the world are located in the continental US. In addition to this, nearly 80% of all money in the world is invested in the US. In the event of a declared war against a foreign country, we can halt all economic and financial activity in said country. Even if you are just some middle class citizen of china, when you pay and “e-bill” the transaction is most likely going to route through an American internet server. Even the merchant processer is most likely going to be an American firm. If china ever declared war on the US, which is extraordinary remote, we can literally shut down the Hong Kong stock exchange and freeze all chinese held assets in the US. This is part of the upside of globalization.

The board game Risk is not how wars are going to be fought anymore. WWII was the last declared war that should require troops on the ground.

Jeff July 22, 2009 at 8:34 am

GC:

You’re talking about the intel/information side of warfare. I’m talking about the actual war side of warfare. Both have existed in every battle since the beginning of time, and both always will.

Point being, we as a nation need to excel in BOTH arenas to have the best national defense available.

Wars will NEVER be fought with just one or just the other, and to think so only invites disaster.

Goldwater Conservative July 22, 2009 at 10:42 am

It applies to both.

I do agree with you, do not misunderstand me on that note. We are literally light years ahead of anybody else in these regards though.

If we should be doing anything with the F22, we should sell them to our allies. They would make an excellent source of revenue.

I do disagree that wars will never be fought with just one or the other. Eventually it may very well happen, that just isn’t the case right now.

Regardless of what arguments can arise from all of this, we should always work to exhaust diplomacy and have the ability to make strong threats. The human race is becoming hard pressed to find militaries that will work for no pay and there is a long history of wars that were “fought” without the use of soldiers. The destruction of cash and grain prior to a military engagement has led to the surrender of countless enemies, throughout history, without use of a physical weapon. We just may be nearing a new age in which these tactics become more viable.

rugby July 22, 2009 at 8:25 am

Nvm Jeff.

Joshua Morris July 22, 2009 at 9:02 am

“Throw $20 billion at infrastructure, health care, or education… and you’re a “socialist”. Throw the money at building jet fighters (to fight Al Queda’s non-existent air force), and you’re a patriot.”

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” – Preamble to the Constitution

Where was healthcare and education in there? I missed it. I did see defense. Additionally, if we don’t adequately defend this Nation, we won’t have any reason to build infrastructure.

rugby July 22, 2009 at 9:10 am

Probably either in the welfare, blessing of posterity, domestic tranquility, you know, that stuff.

Not saying I support some of those but to act like there is no justification is absurd.

Joshua Morris July 22, 2009 at 9:59 am

“welfare” – ‘promote’, NOT provide.

“blessing of posterity” – where was that? You left out the ‘Liberty’ part.

“domestic tranquility” – what does that have to do with healthcare and education?

I didn’t know illiteracy was quite this big a problem. I had no idea this was the issue driving progressive liberalism.

rugby July 22, 2009 at 10:18 am

Dude…nvm.

rugby July 22, 2009 at 10:19 am

Why am I doing this…first off, you can “promote” welfare by providing means for welfare.

Can’t imagine why domestic tranquility can’t come from people having access to healthcare or ways to obtain an education and improve their lot in life.

Stop being stupid just to prove a point.

Goldwater Conservative July 22, 2009 at 10:35 am

domestic tranquility- education and healthcare are very important

welfare: who benefits more? recipients or agribusiness?

Last I look individuals are only getting a couple hundred dollars a month while ConAgra can attribute tens of millions of their revenue to welfare.

Joshua Morris July 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm

We can promote safety by having a police officer drive everyone to work, but that doesn’t make it a feasible way to accomplish safety. For that matter, Communist Russia achieved domestic tranquility through an iron fist. Should we do that, too?

Using you guys’ logic, I could rationalize any ‘right’ I could think of to claim for the People.

The point here is that, constitutionally, the government is required to provide common defense, while it is NOT required to provide education or healthcare. If the signers believed these things were valid uses of the Treasury, they would have said so.

rugby July 22, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Yeah uh, except those weren’t even conceptualized for decades or centuries after the writing of the Constitution.

Joshua Morris July 22, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Just imagine–with single payer healthcare in the 18th century, it would have been government that killed George Washington.

Goldwater Conservative July 24, 2009 at 8:04 am

Who ever said the federal government is providing healthcare or education? They aren’t. Regulating the healthcare industry or providing more funding and standards for schools promotes domestic tranquility and the general welfare.

We saw a few people like you oppose the GI Bill, JSM. It has paid for itself 7 times over and gave an opportunity for our servicemen to make a decent living.

We are at a point were certain things have been neglected too long. Had the Fed stepped in 20 years ago and prohibited policy recindment practices and pre-existing condition clauses (along with a few other mechanisms) we would not being dealing with this right now. The People are being wronged by a private entity and the “priavet sector” forces are not allowing for any change. Obama and most democrats do not want Hilarycare. That is why this bill started out much different than it currently is. A number of free-riders and killer amendments have been added, which is both sad and unethical.

Regarding education, how is domestic tranquility or the general welfare being served by allowing inexperienced hack wannabe politicians that sit on local school boards helping? These people are stupid and weak. We compete in a global economy now. It was one thing, in the ’20s and 30’s, when the school board in Hartwell was competing with the school board from elberton. Same goes for the previous 150 years leading up to WWII and the advent of a globalized economy. Things need to change and, unfortunately, The People have been too ignorant to do anything about it. Some national standard must be set and the Federal government needs to become more active in funding education.

Your problem, JSM, is that you have been fed the line too many times. I am not certain that you see the political difference between what is right and wrong…I think you just see things that either agree with your ideology or not. Ideology is a disgusting thing. There are these people called experts in various fields. John Konop is an expert in education policy and I fancy myself as one as well. Maybe I am not, maybe 30 years teaching in our nations top universities isn’t enough for your ideology,…but I would say it is a good start.

Just imagine – with local control of schools in the 21st century, it will be the inaction of government that will kill the economy.

Yes, we are close to falling below Singapore. Actually, Singapore has a healthcare system ranked higher than the US. Both in terms of efficiency and coverage rates.

You conservatives fail to see how often private sector profits have worked to destroy our frail nation. Housing, Energy, Healthcare…when are you going to figure out that most of our economic misfortunes have been the result of too much private speculation in industries vital to our national security? Irresponsible speculation that could have atleast been slowed down, if not halted, with the presense of some regulation. The world isn’t black and white, JSM. Some regulation is vital. I do not advocate state planning, but hypercapitalism has been the cause of republics falling.

Joshua Morris July 24, 2009 at 10:05 am

That’s quite a rant there, GC.

First, this government is not interested in just regulating healthcare–they’re providing it already. Medicare and Medicaid destroy free market mechanisms and undermine competition. The public option that our illustrious president wants to offer will only expand this effect while leading to the elimination of private health insurance altogether. Free market businesses cannot compete with a government which has different motivations, having no need to make a profit.

Rather than “step in 20 years ago,” the Fed should ‘step out’ and allow insurance to be private between the insured and the carrier, so that people own their own policies and are the direct customers of the insurance company. “Priavet sector”(sic) forces haven’t hurt anyone, Mr. “Expert in education policy.” FDR’s wage controls during WWII are what led to employer-paid health insurance in the first place, which has aided the progression toward the problems with health insurance practices and high medical costs we’re trying to deal with today. Neither the government nor an employer is as interested in healing you as you are. In the end, they’re only looking at the bottom line.

Since you brought up the GI Bill, it is paid to people who actually work for you and me providing defense for this Nation against its enemies. We’re also paying bonuses in the tens of thousands for recruits to sign up and for soldiers to re-enlist. I have no issue with that. My brother is an Air Force Master Sgt having served just over 20 years at this point, and I’ve seen the meager living that many of our soldiers are paid. My dad is also a retired Army Master Sgt, and my other brother served in the Marine Corps. This is an argument you don’t want to have with me.

Moving on, education does not INSURE domestic tranquility. This is what law enforcement does. Every word of the Constitution is important–not just the ones you want to exploit. If your local school board is made up of people who are “stupid and weak,” then work to get them out of office. I personally feel that the current White House Administration and Congressional Leadership are “stupid and weak.” I don’t think they should control education curriculum for anyone. Federal control of education standards would serve only to dumb down the entire system to the level of the weakest district. Go tell the folks at Walton HS in Marietta, one of the top-rated high schools in the Nation, that their school board is “stupid and weak” and that they should conform to a federally mandated standard. Let me know how that goes for you. Also, remember that American education quality and rankings steadily declined in the late 20th century as federal involvement increased.

You progressive liberals don’t understand the private sector and think communism is great. That’s “ideology” for you–I would bet you don’t even understand the meaning of the word. Conservatism shuns ideology altogether in favor of prudent policy changes based on human experience. You progressives also fail to understand that a government which commandeers most of your productivity (i.e. income) and provides basic needs in your life will be unmerciful and oppressive, due to the vast power concentrated in the few. The world in fact IS black and white, and since you don’t understand the basic principles of freedom and responsibility, you can’t even see black and white as it applies to good government.

Finally, I’d love to see “hypercapitalism.” It doesn’t exist.

Goldwater Conservative July 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm

I do understand the private sector. I made a fortune in it. I apparently understand it enough.

Furthermore, what makes you think private sector “incentives” would do anything but deny senior citizens and rescing their policies because of high risks?

Show me the correlation between fed involvement in education and educations decline. They may coincide at various points in history, but the correlation is weak. It is like me stating that the periods of highest economic gain were a result of high regulation and government spending. Milton Friedman leaves that out, but it is true. The golden periods of the American economy saw the highest rates of government spending.

Shuning ideology? BS on that.

You may be right about education’s effect on domestic tranquility…but only on a technicality. An enlightened nation is a tranquil nation. Enlightenment, however, is really only accomplished through education.

Back to ideology. What was the greatest blow to the Socialist and communist movement in America? social security, wage controls, pensions and employer provided health care. Labor unions and liberal, keynesian economics prevented socialism in America. The new deal had less to do with economic stimulation and more to do with preserving the status quo.

I am not having an argument with you over the GI Bill. It was monumental, but it doesn’t change the fact that you are using the GI Bill’s opponents message.

Fact of the matter is, whatever the government does with education or healthcare or the economy…we end up at some equilibrium. Everything ends up washing itself out. When I was a young man, I was not much different than yourself. I was highly skeptical and greedy. Everything that has happened in the past century, though, whether burdensome or not, whether profitable or not, these things have led to a higher standard of living and, questionably, prevent insurrection.
The education and healthcare thing…healthy kids attend more school, smarter kids make more money, more people making more money leads to higher tax revenues. Bottom up economics…not that supply side myth that has proven untrue at every corner.

It might seem utilitarian, but, like Senator Goldwater in his later years, senior statesmen (and their advisors) see things differently. Old men do not lead revolutions. We work to keep most of the people happy most of the time. Rephrase that, we work to keep most of the people happy enough most of the time so that reformative action would be not worth the time or effort.

When you grow old you may see things differently.

Why do I not get involved in school board politics? There is no immediate profit in it. Furthermore, I am going to be long dead before any reform starts having its affect. Even the social consequences mean little to me at this point. Heck, if we had smarter children maybe we would see fewer abortions. Maybe if we had sex ed, there would be fewer abortions. I am not against local school boards merely adminstrating, but they should not be creating curricullums or other policies that govern the education received by students. Standards should be set federally and the cirrucullums should be created by the States. We should probably spend more too. Cooperative federalism works well with a number government functions.

All I can really say at the end of the day is that my generation was the greatest generation for a reason. We didn’t rack up the $11trillion deficit. We didn’t let our ideology get in the way of solving problems. Your ideology is a problem. We have a healthcare and education problem in America. You look at experience and history? We currently have, really, only about a dozen problems with healthcare. When brought before Congress to testify, the CEOs of the big 3 insurance companies said flat out that it would take an Act of Congress to stop them from rescinding policies, to stop them from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, that is would take an act of Congress to stop price gouging.

JSM, I agree with you that the private sector can fix all of its problems. I just will not. There is no incentive to until the bottom falls out of a market…until it’s too late. Reregulating or regulating these industries at this point (actually since the 70s) has always been about sustainable growth. Not worrying about whether or not a few speculators are over speculating and putting the nation at risk seems to promote the general welfare and domestic tranquility…doesn’t it.

Unforunately, we usually wait until it is too late. It will take a serious pandemic with millions of American’s dying from having no insurance or getting their policies rescinded to change anything or we will become the next Pakistan with our under-educated children sewing soccer balls for a dollar a day.

Let me ask you, in 5-10 years, when the energy bubble bursts…what are you going to do? What would you ask Congress to do? With out cap and trade, the private sector is going to stick to foreign oil and coal. There is little short term incentive to invest in nuclear, and when oil trades at $300/barrel, it will be too late. What is the private sector going to do? Ask for a bail out?

Sustainable growth. Justice as fairness. They are all appropriate labels.

Joshua Morris July 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

“Show me the correlation between fed involvement in education and educations decline.”

Educational decline in America is obvious. I shouldn’t have to show you anything–open your eyes. The federal Dept of Education didn’t exist until the Carter Administration. How has it improved education in America?

“You may be right about education’s effect on domestic tranquility…but only on a technicality. An enlightened nation is a tranquil nation. Enlightenment, however, is really only accomplished through education.”

Our Nation was generally more tranquil in the ’50s. Would you attribute that to “smarter kids” or a higher moral standard in general? I tend to believe the latter.

“Shuning ideology? BS on that.”

You clearly don’t understand the term.

“Let me ask you, in 5-10 years, when the energy bubble bursts…what are you going to do?”

We wouldn’t have an energy problem if we’d just access the oil reserves we have in this country and right off our shores. Other energy technologies aren’t ready for prime time, but you progressives are the ones trying to quarantine the energy resources we currently have and should be using while we develop new ones.

GC, I’m not greedy, and when I’m old I doubt I’ll see things any differently, because I base my views on principle. Principles don’t change.

And btw, use spell check, and proofread your stuff before you submit. It might help you appear more credible.

MSBassSinger July 24, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Reading through this is too eerily reminiscent of the 1930s and why were were so unprepared for the war.

First, unmanned fighters work great in theory, but not in reality. You cannot fly a fighter aircraft remotely without having the issue of latency. Your communications can be easily disrupted, and any human pilot can learn how to outsmart an automated pilot. Besides, the enemy will simply target where your remote pilots are at, and take them out.

In any war, it will always come down to man fighting man, and the death and injury of non-combatants in the process. That is what makes war so horrible and to be avoided if possible. Whether in the air or on the ground, or ship versus ship at sea, the automated battle machines will be destroyed or rendered useless in the first strike. Life is not a movie.

Whether you want to face reality or live in a dream world, China and Russia and their surrogates have chosen to be enemies of the USA. F-16s, F-14s, and F-15s are outclassed by some of the newer Chinese and Russian fighters. The only fighter we have now or in the near future that can give air superiority in a war is the F-22. The F-35 is not even designed to be superior – it is designed by international committee to be sold to their respective countries.

The F-22 should not be preserved to preserve jobs. It should be preserved to help preserve America. Mark my words – if Obama gets 8 years in office, you will see China taking military action in the Pacific rim to assert their domination, and likewise Russia in central Europe and western and central Asia. It has nothing to do with cold war communism, but the ages-old imperialistic tendency of those nations’ leaders to conquer.

Doug Deal July 24, 2009 at 2:24 pm

MSBass,

So, you didn’t even read this thread apparently. I never said remotely flown fighters, so your latency straw man is a waste of time.

Basically, you would have autonomous micro tactical command of the fighter (hard climb, fire weapon, etc.) and remote macro tactical command of the fighter (return to base, engage enemy).

As for preserving America, you have got to be kidding. F-22’s are too expensive to do anything but wreck us in a real war. German kept going for the “super weapon” approach and look where it got them. When Panther tanks are outnumbered by death-trap Sherman tanks 10-1, it does not matter how more sophisticated and well armored they were.

Right now, we are lucky that we only go against outmatched enemies because if we actually went head to head against china, we would lose badly on attrition because of foolish programs like the F-22 and F-35.

I am not suggesting that the F-16 is the end all of air superiority, but planes like it can be used as a stop gap until we come to our senses and stop trying to build the super expensive ultimate single super weapon and instead create a cost effective defense system.

You also have to be kidding if you think that an automated pilot, once developed and refined could not easily defeat a human pilot. The human body is limited to much smaller G-Forces, and that alone would allow a computer controlled plane to do things human pilots could only dream of. In fact, it is computer control flight that enables human pilots to be successful anyway, what do you think controls the rockets they use as weapons?

Plus, a lost human pilot takes with him his training and experience, while the computer pilot would just be copied into a new plane with even more experience under its belt.

It is unbelievable that you would tout the superiority of the F-22 yet totally discount the potential of computer controlled fighters. I will grant you the F-22 is superior, but it is not worth 20 conventional fighters, and the F-35 is not worth 30.

MSBassSinger July 24, 2009 at 2:55 pm

It is unbelievable that you would tout the superiority of the F-22 yet totally discount the potential of computer controlled fighters.
Because I am a very experienced software engineer, and I know just how limited any automated system would be. And a well-trained human will always outsmart a computer.

Doug Deal July 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

Apparently not a very knowledgeable one. You might want to research Deep Blue v Kasparov 1996. But that is beside the point because it is not human vs. computer; it is human and computer vs. human AND better computer. I must say, though, that your John Henry view of the world is rather quaint, I just hope that it is not our air force pilots that die with a hammer in their hands.

Right now, the F-22 is computer controlled. Turn off the computer and let’s see how long it takes to turn itself into a gyrating wad of debris. The pilot is doing nothing more than up close and personal remote flying. Of course due to the lower latency issue you mentioned earlier, he is able to contribute a lot more to the battle, but it will not be long before it is better to not have the pilot there in the first place.

In the end it has very little to do with software and a lot to do with physical laws. Humans can only tolerate so many G-Forces, solid state electronics can tolerate more. More G-Forces means faster rate of turn, which means no matter what hapless human pilot does to fool the computer, the target tracking of a fully realized system will always be superior. Plus, if you take out the weight and space dedicated to saving the human pilot, the plane is lighter, which means it is faster, more maneuverable for the same control surface area and also easier on fuel. The advantages over a human pilot are astronomical.

The question is not whether the futures most advanced air force will be computer controlled, but whether it will be us or someone else.

MSBassSinger July 24, 2009 at 3:03 pm

We probably should be moving toward cheap drone fighters
How do you think a drone fighter would engage the enemy? There are only so many adaptations to a limited number of situations it can do without having a human directing it remotely. AI is still nowhere near having the abilities of the human mind to quickly adapt, overcome, and prevail.

Doug Deal July 24, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Target selected, computer ordered to engage and destroy.

After that, it could go one of two ways:

1. Computer controlled squadron A accelerates and engages the human controlled B. Both sides launch their missiles; destroy each other, squadron A loses $200 million in material, squadron B loses $3 trillion. Repeat until country B can no longer contend for air superiority.

2. The planes actually pair off and engage in dog fighting. The expensive squadron B planes having human pilots try to outmaneuver but the higher G-Force tolerance of A means B takes big losses. B disengages, running for their lives, but the lighter and faster A planes mop them up one by one. Country B goes bankrupt because it thought $300 million per plane was a good idea.

MSBassSinger July 24, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Doug, you are confusing science fiction with reality.

Doug Deal July 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm

You are confusing cost with effectiveness and don’t understand the concepts of value or efficiency.

If that last attempt at being insulting is the best argument you can come up with, I will take the win.

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