Tuesday, 21 July 2009

QotD, QotD edition

The Economist on the F-22 vote:

The secretary of defence did not want to add to the programme. Nor did the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Nor did the Air Force’s two senior leaders. Yet 40 senators still thought they knew better.

Now, I’m convinced that on the merits, the “anti-more-F-22s” side is easily on the right side of the debate, but nonetheless in a representative democracy it properly is the elected officials—including the 40 pro-F-22 senators, however misguided—who should be deciding whether to spend billions of taxpayers’ money on weapons systems, and not members of the armed forces or a political appointee who’s never been elected to or sought public office. Certainly I hope The Economist is not suggesting that senators and representatives should always defer to the preferences of the military and the executive branch, even when their views are held in unanimity.

As an aside, the F-22’s demise also will prove a useful lesson to Lockheed and other defense contractors in the future: next time, ensure the contract’s jobs are in as many states as possible.

1 comment:

Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.
[Permalink] 1. paul bivand wrote @ Wed, 22 Jul 2009, 6:24 am CDT:

Via Planet R

Your comment is very American. The Economist, while international, is British-based. In the UK it would be regarded as close to fraudulent for elected politicians to add to legislation to benefit their constituencies. They would certainly have to declare an interest.

Of course the UK Secretary of State for Defence is an elected politician, and the last one, who represented the constituency where they build and repair submarines, did manage to ensure sufficient business that the recession had little effect….

The legitimacy of pork-barrel politics has always seemed strange from the UK side of the pond. It seems to deserve analysis of some sort.

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