THIS is why we appear to have a spending problem

I can’t count the number of times I see or hear “America has a spending problem” or some variation of that meme.  I don’t always necessarily agree with that, but reading stories similar to the one about the C-27J Spartan gives me pause to contemplate changing my stance on the idea about us having a spending issue.

If you haven’t heard it yet, the Spartan is a brand new plane that’s being delivered to our Air Force to add to our airlift capability.  The Spartans were first used by the US in Afghanistan and are being delivered to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona.  If you’re unfamiliar with that particular base or unsure of which group is based there, then don’t fret.  That’s where the “boneyard” is located.  The Air Force stores planes there to use for parts and such.  Each plane, however, can be brought back up to active flight status if necessary.  It’s kinda like a huge storage chest in the middle of the desert.

Why would we have a brand new plane going into storage when there are other ways it could be used?  Why are we ordering new airlift planes when we have many in storage in the desert in the first place?  It seems like these are two of many questions that should have been considered at the time someone suggested we buy these planes.

Now that we own them, why don’t we put them to good use?  As seen by the Yosemite fire in California, we need additional aircraft to help support wildfire suppression here in the US.  Can these planes be retrofitted and put into service with the US Forestry group instead of letting them get a suntan in the Arizona desert?  Can these planes be repainted and used to augment the Coast Guard’s current fleet?  There was recent talk about how their ships were in need of replacement, so maybe they could get ahead of the curve on aircraft without us spending that money again down the road.

There has to be some way that we can utilize these planes that have already been purchased.  There was a huge uproar over Solyndra because of the $500 million dollars given to them.  We spent money in that same ballpark for planes that we’re not intending to fly, so why has there been no uproar over this?



15 thoughts on “THIS is why we appear to have a spending problem

  1. This is old news. IMO we have no idea about our spending problem since we can’t audit the too big to fail government. And it gets bigger and bigger and keeps giving away stuff we can’t sustain.


    • I don’t think that we have a spending problem. We currently have a revenue problem, but nobody wants to acknowledge that because that would mean that supply sided economics does not live up to the promises.

      In the 2000 decade, we had 0% new job growth. In addition, new job growth has been declining for the past 4 decades. The decrease in new job growth simply exacerbated the problem we were going to see as a result of 30 plus years of tax cuts, or revenue cuts.

      Our population is constantly increasing, so common sense would suggest that government spending will increase as well, and that’s not accounting for inflation and other factors. Simply saying we have a spending problem without acknowledging that we intentionally crippled our revenues is the cowards way out, IMHO. Until we acknowledge the total problem, we won’t be able to solve it.


    • Since I had a night to sleep on your statement, I have to ask this, how can we not know about our spending problem when we have a yearly account of the budget as far as money spent, money taken in, and money borrowed? Are you questioning the individual expenditures instead?

      And, our spending will continue to get bigger and bigger even if no other law, program, or entitlement is ever enacted. Our population will continue to grow. The number of elderly will continue to grow for a while because of the baby boomer generation. It’s asinine thinking for someone to think we can actually shrink what we can spend or shrink the government. With an ever increasing population, the cost to protect and service that population will increase. People who honestly think we can shrink the cost or size of government are stupid unless they’re also going to shrink the size of the population as well, and that has nothing to do with give away stuff as you think it does.


  2. This reminds me of one of my pet peeves. There’s a natural tendency to not pay much attention to good money management sometimes, when you’re spending somebody else’s money. It’s at all levels of government from Federal to state to our own local governments up here in the Hills. There’s always a tendency to look at things as “free money”.

    Case in point. A few years back, on a local government building they tore off the front and put on a new front, all basically cosmetics. I was talking to somebody about it and how I thought it was a waste of money. He said, “That was a (state) grant. It didn’t cost us a dime”. I said, “So, you don’t pay state taxes?” What difference does it make which pocket the money is being spent out of?

    Things have gotten so big that they just have an inertia that keeps them going. Throw in the fact that this airplane was probably a boon to a Congressional district or two and you can see where a lot of the problem is.

    I’d like to see (and never will) zero based budgeting at all departments in all levels of government. Instead of starting with a baseline and justifying an increase, justify the whole budget.


    • This plane was a boon to the Ohio delegation, and they have fought since 2007 for the funding to make the purchases. I don’t see the logic behind entertaining a motion to consider purchasing something like this. We see massive news coverage about national parks being closed, but wasting money is no big deal. Looking at photos of the boneyard, there’s already C-130s parked there so why would we need new airlift capability anyway?


      • I’m not really familiar with this project but odds are the Ohio delegation horse traded their votes with other delegations and the other delegations got their pet projects through, as well. It’s largely just a game.

        I remember back many years ago a man telling me about a vote in Washington. He was lobbying with a senator from Georgia to get a bill passed that would aid a large local company. He asked the senator if he thought the bill would pass and his answer was (paraphrased), “It’ll pass. It cost me 5 dinners and two fifths of liquor but it’ll pass”.


        • It’s all one big game of political poker. The only difference is that we end up losing every hand. If they turned around and gave these planes to the forestry service to help fight fires or something like that, I wouldn’t see this as a complete failure as they could really use the update to their fleet. Parking them in the desert straight off the factory line, however, is a complete waste and heads should roll for that. However, as you said, somebody probably traded something or donated to a campaign to get the sale anyway.


  3. I suspect you know why people don’t complain about this type of spending. Other than Solyndra, which the Rs wanted to embarrass Obama with, it hasn’t been in fashion to complain about government contracts since the ’80s.

    What people mean when they complain about government spending is programs that give money to the needy. Ronald Reagan convinced the American population that there are millions of people who spend their lives taking their ease while you and I work to support them. I don’t know how true any of that was in the ’80s — I suspect not much of it was — but people haven’t gotten a news update since then that all aid is temporary. SNAP — temporary. TANF — temporary. Unemployment — temporary.

    I have a cousin who is a True Southern Lady, the dearest, sweetest, most charitable person you would ever meet. But she is among the reddest of red voters because she believes 51% of the country is now working to support a lazy 49%. When she drives through town and sees young men loitering on street corners, she thinks about how those lazy so-and-sos are taking food out of her own son’s mouth. When she sees Hispanic immigrants hanging out by Home Depot, she doesn’t believe they’re really waiting for some contractor to come and hire them, off the books and probably for less than minimum wage; she’s sure it’s a social gathering, because she knows each and every one of them has 14 kids for whom they’re collecting massive welfare payments. That’s the spending people want stopped.


    • Well, it’s said that defense spending is what collapsed the USSR back in the day. They blew money in Afghanistan and trying to keep up with us. Now, we’re blowing money in Afghanistan and buying totally unnecessary military hardware. Did we not pay attention back then?


      • For many years it was fashionable to rail against defense contracts. Arlen Specter made his bones on wasteful spending, and most of it was in the defense industry. My dad worked for Lockheed and he hated Specter, said he didn’t understand the contracts or he wouldn’t question them. I’m guessing the truth was somewhere in between.

        Anyhow, that kind of thinking went out when Reagan came in. Since Reagan, all bad spending has involved social programs. That’s all anyone wants to hear about now.


        • IMO, this country has lost its way since Reagan took office. The wheels came off the cart, and the cart fell off the path. It was so long ago, that I don’t know if anybody remembers what the wheels even looked like anymore.


      • Jack Anderson, who wrote a muckraking column that was syndicated throughout the country, including in the AJC, was also hell on wasteful defense spending.

        We need Jack Anderson back. Too bad he’s unavailable.


    • There is probably some belt tightening that needs to be done. That won’t be accomplished as long as one party refuses to participate in governing. Right now, it’s the GOP. Before, the Democrats were the party of no against Bush. This crap is going to end up knocking us from the top of the global economy.


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