Opinion

The Air Force doesnt need a Maserati

by Jim Hightower

Hey, how about indulging yourself with a hot new Maserati? Yeah, its got a sticker price thatll make you go blind but, wow, this baby will flat-out fly.
Even if you only drive your Maserati down to the hardware store, itll give you an awesome thrill and make you feel like a real stud, so come on splurge. And dont tell me you cant afford it. Just cut back on your kids education, cancel your familys health care and dip into your retirement fund. Its all about priorities, my friend.
If you think such extravagance is insane, youre obviously not a studly Congress critter. These free spenders have just voted to buy more F-22 Raptor fighter jets, a stealth plane that flies so high, so fast that its called the Maserati of the skies. Price tag: a third-of-a-billion dollars per plane.
The F-22 is grossly over budget and plagued with so many technical flaws that the 74 already produced cannot be used in combat. This year, for example, it was discovered that a pilot could not get the cockpit open and had to be rescued with chainsaws. Also, the F-22 was designed two decades ago to fight the Soviet air force which no longer exists. In fact, the United States already has such unquestioned air superiority that there is zero need for this new Maserati, and even the Bush White House opposes lavishing more money on it.
Yet, spurred by a pack of Lockheed Martin lobbyists, Congress has thrown another $38 billion of our money at this thrill machine. To add fiscal insanity to total irresponsibility, our lawmakers also eliminated the annual congressional review of whether the F-22 boondoggle should continue, so now it has a life of its own.
This is $38 billion thats being taken from our countrys education, health care, and pension needs. Its all about priorities. To help set them straight, contact Sensible Priorities at 212-243-3416.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Thieves In High Places: Theyve Stolen Our Country And Its Time To Take It Back.

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