The adage warns that “you get what you pay for.” Right now, the federal government is paying people more not to work, than to work. States and localities have stopped limiting membership to certain school sports activities for fear of not being inclusive. The military has poured cash into the failing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the result is failure.
During the coronavirus pandemic, extraordinary measures were taken to provide a band aid to the economy. One was enhanced unemployment benefits. A Cato Institute report from April of this year concluded that “combined with state unemployment benefits, around 37 percent of workers can currently make more unemployed than in work. A low-income worker in Massachusetts previously earning $535 per week faced a pre-pandemic replacement rate of unemployment insurance benefits to earnings of 48 percent ($257). Now, the same worker would obtain benefits worth 104 percent of their pre-recession earnings ($557).” It makes sense for the worker to not work and make more money. That is a policy that will lead to national failure with regard to getting people back to work.
The New York Post had a story on June 2, 2018, that provided a number of examples of failure being rewarded, including “at Hanover Park High School last month, a mother complained when her daughter got cut after cheerleading tryouts. Instead of telling her tough luck, the athletic director placated the mom and changed the team’s policy, allowing any wannabe cheerleader to join the squad.”
Defense policy also rewards failure. We don’t need to count the ways the JSF is failing; analysts are already doing that for us. “The beleaguered F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is still suffering from hundreds of unresolved design flaws, according to a new report from a non-governmental watchdog, dozens of which the Defense Department has ‘no plan’ to ever correct,” Business Insider reports. That same article points out that the Pentagon itself has another damning tally. “The latest report from the Pentagon's operational test and evaluation on the aircraft for fiscal year 2019, released to the public in January, indicates that the F-35's critical software is currently dealing with some 873 bugs, as well as 13 other ‘must fix’ issues.”
Even the guns don’t work, which seems like a big deal on a war plane. “Investigations into the gun mounts of the F-35A revealed misalignments that result in muzzle alignment errors,” the Pentagon admits. “As a result, the true alignment of each F-35A gun is not known, so the program is considering options to re-boresight and correct gun alignments.” Perhaps these problems would be acceptable if the JSF was living up to standards in other areas. If it was helping project American power around the globe, then some software issues might be overlooked.
However, the JSF can’t even keep up with 40-year-old weapon systems. Test pilots told Sean McFate “the F-35 could not turn or climb fast enough to hit an enemy plane or dodge enemy gunfire,” as he wrote for The Hill. “Similarly, the F-35 struggled to get a clean shot at a 1980s-vintage F-16. The older aircraft easily maneuvered behind the F-35 for a clear shot, even sneaking up on the ‘stealth’ jet.” That may be why the JSF hasn’t flown a real combat role in any American wars fought since September 11.
Bloomberg reports that failure is being rewarded, because the Pentagon wants another $78 billion to invest in the JSF over the next five years. The actual request is likely to be even higher. Just last year, in fact, the government gave contractor Lockheed Martin a contract for $1.9 billion to support the failing jets. Good money after bad.
The Pentagon should focus on the Next-Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) program, and remain open-minded about what it can accomplish. “NGAD could take the form of a single aircraft and/or a number of complementary systems—manned, unmanned, optionally manned, cyber, electronic—forms that would not resemble the traditional ‘fighter,’” the Air Force explains. That seems like a better approach than tying itself to one contractor who is “too big to fail.”
Half a century ago, NASA famously declared that “failure is not an option,” and it brought its Apollo 13 astronauts home alive. It looks like failure is the option for many even though it is clear with massive debt and record spending that the United States government can’t affort to continue to invest in failure.
Dan Perkins is a published author of four novels on nuclear and biological terrorism against the United States and is a current events commentator for over 30+ news blogs on a rotating basis. He recently has had commentaries posted on Medium, Conservative Truth, and Newsmax among others. More information on Perkins can be found on his web site: danperkins.guru
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