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Pork barrel spending lives!


raptor2.gif

The Raptor, aptly named for a dinosaur, is a project that Defense Secretary Bob Gates has desperately tried to kill, but even he cannot drive a stake through its reptilian heart. Congress refuses to let it die off, though it's the wrong weapon for the wrong times and a stupendous waste of taxpayer money as we face record deficits.

This is one of those times when democracy and common sense follow skewed paths. You can hardly blame Congress. Weapons systems have traditionally served as socialistic jobs programs for small-government types (actually, all-government types) who use "defense" as a fig leaf for their self-preserving largess with our money.

You can't blame the defense contractors, either. After all, it is they who figured out how to game the system by spreading their subcontracts out to as many congressional districts as possible, thereby making the projects virtually bulletproof. In fact, you should tip your hat to them. If getting rich by being merchants of death is their raison d'etre, then they have no peer.

Imagine if the Raptor, rather than being a plane we don't need, were a program of wind turbine and solar panel construction, spreading as many jobs out to just as many districts as now benefit from the defense contracts. As we became more self-sufficient in our energy needs, the need for new weapons systems to protect our far-flung and vulnerable sources would gradually disappear.

But that would leave the dinosaurs out in the cold.

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Comments

Building wind farms would make too much ,sence has the government ever done anything that we really need ? Just like all of the shovel ready jobs ,I'll believe it when I see it!


This is one of those times when democracy and common sense follow skewed paths.

Hello?

When have democracy and common sense not followed skewed paths?


Imagine if the Raptor, rather than being a plane we don't need, were a program of wind turbine and solar panel construction, spreading as many jobs out to just as many districts as now benefit from the defense contracts.

If wind or solar power made economic sense private entities would take advantage of it. In fact, some private entities are starting to get involved.

A Government program of wind and solar energy would quickly degenerate in political pork. You prefer energy to the Raptor. I prefer not having a bankrupt government squander money on any wasteful projects.


This is a spot-on cartoon, Mr. Lowe. As always, you are by far the best part of the Sun-Sentinel. You are also how I keep up with South Floridian lunacy now that I live out of the area.

There's only one problem with your cartoon, though. The Senate has just cut the funding for the Raptor. Perhaps they listened to you.


Chan says:

Zemie, I think they killed it while I was drawing the cartoon, so unfortunately, I can't take credit. The House, of course, would have stuck with it to the bitter end.

How brilliant of the Founding Fathers to give senators six-year terms, so that certain votes could be forgotten by an attention-span-challenged electorate.


How brilliant of the Founding Fathers to give senators six-year terms...

Actually the Constitution called for Senators to be chosen by the legislatures of the individual States. It was not until the 17th amendment in 1913 that direct election of Senators took place.

The original method of selecting Senators was probably preferable. Our politicians are now routinely bought and sold. It costs millions of dollars to win a Senate seat since our electorate is particularly susceptible to advertising.

Most of our Senators get the majority of their funding from out of state special interests. It would be much more difficult for special interests to control Senators if they were answerable to the state legislatures.


Remember the superconducting supercollider? It was the last big project anyone ever tried to build without spreading the subcontracts around. The greedheads in Texas grabbed the whole thing, and as a result, the project got cancelled. After that, no one will ever try to get money for a massive project without making sure they have subcontractors in a majority of states :-).


Lolly,
I don't have my copy of the constitution handy, but I would guess that it set the six-year terms for U.S. Senators, regardless of how they were elected, appointed, or whatever.
Chan


Mr. Lowe,

Let Lolly do his thing. What
would a day be without his
naysayer's voice?

Lolly: let it go.


Lolly: let it go.

I often feel like Cassandra.

{Cassandra was a seer in Greek mythology who was able to foretell the future, but was cursed in that she was never believed. It was very frustrating for her to warn about impending disasters but not be able to do anything to prevent them.}


Lolly,

There you go AGAIN. You need
not tell me, or anyone else
on this blog, who Cassandra was. Your intelligence is
average, at best.


Your intelligence is
average, at best.

Thanks John. Here, I thought I was way below average.


Lolly,

Oh my gosh, for once you're
right!


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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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