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Who wants to cut federal spending?

Once again, the Air Force has recommended retiring the A-10 (“Warthog”) support airplane, which would save us taxpayers $4 billion. That’s quite a chunk of change, and given that everyone keeps talking about how we need to cut spending and reduce the deficit, you would think it would be a slam dunk to kill an airplane that even the Air Force doesn’t want.

But you would be wrong.

On Thursday, the House approved an amendment to the 2015 defense appropriations bill, which prevents the elimination of the A-10. The bill was sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans and passed 300-114. Ironically, even the House appropriations committee voted to eliminate the A-10, which has a relatively aged design. I guess Congress can’t figure out how to put their money where their mouth is.



  1. David Freeman wrote:

    The Military Industrial Complex is complex by design. Military facilities and manufacturing were spread widely throughout the country so virtually every congressional district has some component of the military budget to protect. Even good projects become pork once it’s out of date and congressmen want to keep what their district has whether that is best for the country or not. Consolidating manufacturing and closing bases for efficiency and even eliminating useless expenses just can’t happen when Congressmen know that their pet projects will be cut if they don’t support everyone else’s pet projects.

    Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 6:15 am | Permalink
  2. Jon Loging wrote:

    What your brief article doesn’t mention is too very important facts. One, the money for the A-10 would not be saved, but would go to the F-35. Two, the A-10 is the only plane that can do close air support as well. The Air Force might not like it (it isn’t fast and sexy) but the Army loves it.

    Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Jon, your statement is misleading. The money keeping the A-10 going is additional spending, which increases the deficit. While canceling the A-10 would not (technically) reduce spending, at least it is not additional spending. So killing the A-10 would save us money.

    David, there’s a good article in The Economist backing up what you are saying –

    Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink
  4. ThatGuy wrote:

    The F-35 is a multi-role aircraft. The F-35A variant was designed with replacing the A-10 in mind (as well as the F-16, which was also a multi-role aircraft). The USMC will still operate its Harrier aircraft, which can also provide close air support. The Marines and Navy will also still have the F-18, which is capable of close air support. The A-10 was only used by the Air Force and Air National Guard.

    While none of these might be as effective or intimidating as the A-10 (which carries a larger cannon, can take a hell of a beating, and flies relatively slow to allow accurate support fire) it fills a role that we aren’t likely to need. It was designed as a tank killer to sweep Soviet armor off of fields in Europe. Multi-role jets make more sense as they simplify logistics, can swap from ground attack to air combat (unlikely the US will need that, but better to be prepared) mid-mission, and in the case of the F-35 can be borne on a carrier, which the A-10 can’t.

    Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink
  5. Zed wrote:

    Cut spending, just NIMBY.

    Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink
  6. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Yeah, but instead of cutting unnecessary pork from the defense budget, they’ll just cut troop pay, benefits and numbers.

    It’s like in my home town (bluest of the blue states) whenever there are budget problems the first thing on the chopping block is public safety, police and firefighters. Cutting administrative staff or salaries is never considered. If that doesn’t scare the sheeple enough to pay more taxes they threaten education.

    Republicans do the same thing but with welfare and other social programs.

    Here’s an idea, simplify the tax code to a one page document that be scanned and analyzed by a computer and eliminate 80% of the staff at the IRS. That’s got to be 15-20 billion a year right there.

    Monday, June 23, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink
  7. Jon wrote:

    Yes… and the F-22 has flown exactly how many combat missions so far, in spite of its $80 billion price tag?

    Few will argue that possession of an overwhelming military that both defend our foreign oil interests while providing jobs for over 2 million direct and 5-10 times that many indirect full time American jobs. The surprising thing is that, military funding in support of foreign oil is probably the most progressive tax we have in this country.

    If the cost of oil defense was translated into per-gallon taxes at the pump, income taxes could be reduced by at least 25% (that’s a very conservative number) while people would be seriously encouraged to use less oil-based fuel.

    Which would help with the “energy independence” to which we pay so much lip service.

    Something that should and could be phased in, and Congress has known this for decades, but it’s not happening, either. Money indeed talks.

    Monday, June 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Permalink