Conservative Solutions to Liberal Problems (Part II), by David Teesdale

August 9, 2009

blog_july08_economyLiberals were up the their usual tricks this past fall—no, not habitually stealing inter-generational candy from babies not yet born through historically high deficit spending—that had to wait till January. Many an American face matched their stock portfolios in October as 401k savings accounts were reduced to ashen shells of what they formerly were. The liberal elite quickly went about blaming the “free-market” in an effort aimed to, as only a short time’s passage would reveal, do more re-shaping of the American economic system than Ashlee Simpson has done to her face.

Truth be told (would I lie to you?), this has been a pretty common theme liberals have employed over the last century, so as to convince other-wise freedom loving Americans that they need to be protected from themselves. Unlike their feeble attempts to have us believe that the 75 year old American Legion vets lambasting squishy Congressmen in health care town halls across the country of late are simply on the payroll of evil corporate America (who are ironically on board with national health care, which benefits their bottom-lines), this technique has been rather successful. Read the rest of this entry »


Will Fiscal Responsibility be Confined to Defense Department?, by StairwaytoKevin

July 27, 2009

The Obama administration, the Defense Department, and the American people recently scored an impressive Senate victory.  It will be in our nation’s best interest if the pragmatic decision-making process exhibited by various actors in the F-22 defense project is broadly applied to other policy debates.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to kill a proposed extension of the nation’s foremost fighter-jet program, the F-22 Raptor.  Despite the aircraft’s technological superiority and political sensitivity, strategic flaws and financial concerns convinced the Senate to halt the program.

The F-22 came under assault as a quintessential illustration of government waste, specifically defense industry pork.

“We do not need these planes,” President Obama said. “To continue to procure additional F-22s would be to waste valuable resources that should be more usefully employed to provide our troops with weapons that they actually do need.”

President Obama, however, generally delegated opposition to the program to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.  Gates made stops throughout the country railing against the program.  He joined former defense secretaries and Joint Chiefs of Staff in lending distinguished military credibility to the cause.

“The more stuff they buy we don’t need, the less we have available for the stuff we do need,” Gates told reporters.  “It’s as simple as that.  It ain’t a complicated problem.”

Sen. John McCain even joined his former rival on the campaign trail as the Senate’s chief spokesman against the F-22.  McCain was perhaps the program’s oldest and most vocal critic, calling it “opaque and Byzantine” in 2006.  McCain also called for a more prudent allocation of resources within the U.S. military before the Senate voted down the extension by a 58-40 margin.

In cutting the program, the administration and Senators overcame significant obstacles.  Originally designed to counter perceived Soviet

$700 Billion worth of Government equipment.  The potential photo ops over NYC make them nearly worth the cost.

$700 Billion worth of Government equipment. The potential photo ops over NYC make them nearly worth the cost.

aerial combat threats, the F-22 emerged as the world’s pre-eminent fighter jet.  Its sleek design and stealth features are unrivalled (however, the likelihood that it will go unchallenged for decades only gave credence to the argument that manufacturing more jets was unnecessary).

Another notable impediment was the political element of the weapons program.  Lockheed Martin, the plane’s designer, astutely distributed all aspects of the program throughout the nation.  Therefore, individual Senators and Congressmen felt the pinch to continue the program under the auspices of ensuring economic development.

Ultimately, the hefty price tag, technical issues, and unnecessary capabilities rendered the program a failure.  At $350 million per plane, it was difficult to justify expanding the program from the current stock of 187 to over 560 jets.  The plane’s required 30-plus hours of maintenance per hour of flight, tendency to experience malfunctions in desert environments (sand), and the advent of another – superior – fighter jet program (the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter) doomed the F-22.

This massive program seemed like a logical segment to cut as the nation confronts the War on Terror and adjusts defense programs accordingly.  The Obama administration put forth financially and militarily compelling arguments as it halted the F-22’s expansion.  The question now is: will the Obama administration consistently display similar reasoning as it applies to other policy arenas?

For example, despite the consensus among economists regarding the benefits of free trade, will the President Obama continue to oppose Latin American free trade agreements as a payoff to a labor industry that vigorously backed his presidential campaign?

Will President Obama take on one of the Democratic Party’s core constituencies – trial lawyers – when what is good for attorneys is bad for

Former Trial Lawyer John Edwards with (most of) his children.  As you can see, all lawyers are probably evil.

Former Trial Lawyer John Edwards with (most of) his children. As you can see, all lawyers are probably evil.

America?  Will he mandate tort reform as part of his health care reform package and heed the advice of health-care experts who attest to attorneys’ role in the skyrocketing costs of health insurance?

Finally, will the president dare challenge the liberal teachers’ unions as he pursues education reform?  Candidate Obama promised accountability and change within our nation’s education system.  However, these values – tangibly represented by policies such as charter schools and merit pay – are typically staunchly contested by the powerful unions.

Sensible policy decisions should be lauded when they are reached.  Their successes should also be analyzed and applied to relevant policy realms.  Hopefully President Obama will have the audacity to do so.

StairwaytoKevin’s life story was famously documented in the film “Top Gun,” with a slightly less handsome man asked to portray StairwaytoKevin.  He also enjoys shirtless volleyball and angry motorcycle rides.