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Fifteen years after it was meant to be finished, the F-35 Stealth Fighter has an engine that’s too hot, a logistics computer that spits out random information, and a defense system that cannot protect it from lightning. Yet, its builders are raking in more cash than ever.
Article by Connor O’Keeffe from FEE.
The Defense Department awarded Lockheed Martin the contract to work on the F-35 in late 2001. The fighter was to act as a flying swiss-army knife — a cutting-edge weapon system that could do anything; air to air combat, air to ground strikes, reconnaissance, even vertical take-offs and landings.
The project ran into problems early, however. The plane was unable to fly until the very end of 2006, the very same year it was initially expected to be combat-ready. The jet that could do anything was having trouble doing much of anything.
The F-35 program defines a Category 1A Deficiency as anything that could result in the pilot’s death or loss of the aircraft. Through the end of 2018, the F-35 had thirteen Category 1A Deficiencies.
Since then, those running the program have downgraded five deficiencies, meaning they now only represent a threat to the ability to carry out missions. But new problems keep cropping up.
Today, the F-35 has issues maintaining supersonic speed, keeping cabin pressure, remaining in control when operating above a 20-degree angle, flying when it’s cold, and completing vertical landings when it’s hot.
In a reasonable world, any association with the program would be damaging for the companies involved. Instead, Lockheed Martin has been rewarded handsomely for its work, receiving $115 billion in revenue just from the F-35.
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With a stock price rising 600 percent since winning the contract, Lockheed Martin shareholders could be forgiven for thinking the program has been a grand success.
But Lockheed Martin is far from the only company involved. Overall, American taxpayers have already paid over $400 billion to all prime and sub-contractors involved in the program. That’s double what the entire fleet was supposed to cost.
Initially promised to cost $38 million per plane, the price has ballooned to around $158 million for each F-35. The latest estimate puts the entire program’s cost — when all orders are filled and the entire fleet is operational — at $1.727 trillion.
In the market, entrepreneurs and investors must spend their own money to produce a new product and swallow any unanticipated costs themselves. They know they won’t make any sales if they cannot deliver a working product.
These factors incentivize private producers to prioritize quality and affordability. The incentives and constraints affect every aspect of the production process.
Government actors have very different incentives and constraints. They are spending other people’s money. And, in the case of the military, a lot of it.
The incentives to pursue affordability and quality are absent when in the planning stage or when problems arise. Unlike their market counterparts, the proposed fix for failing government programs is often to just throw more money at the problem.
Indeed, in the case of the F-35, more problems meant more money. The government awarded subsequent contracts to address the mounting deficiencies — and over time, the funds sent to contractors grew from the planned $200 billion in total to $400 billion so far.
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No End in Sight
Although the costs of the F-35 program are astronomical, the chances of congress cutting them are slim. While a $1.7 trillion price tag is high, it amounts to a drop in the bucket when spread across all American taxpayers, a fact that keeps the public conveniently apathetic.
The benefits, however, are concentrated, which means beneficiaries like Lockheed Martin will zealously encourage the continued spending. And, as if by design, F-35 subcontractors are spread over 45 states and a total of 307 congressional districts, meaning most congress members can be subjected to pressure from their constituents if they speak out against the program.
Although they’re not operating in a free market, these contractors are still companies concerned with enhancing shareholder value. And in that regard, they’ve done phenomenally well.
But the price of the plane is turning heads at the Pentagon. Their solution? To keep toiling with the F-35 while starting on a brand new fighter. After all, it’s other people’s money.
Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?
Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.
There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.
Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.
Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.
We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.
To those who have the means, we ask that you please donate. We have options available now, but there is no telling when those options will cancel us. We just launched a new GiveSendGo page. We also have our GivingFuel page. There have been many who have been canceled by PayPal, but for now it’s still an option. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.
Thank you, and God Bless!
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