09.21.09

Critics don’t have to make the painful choices

Posted in at 13:14 by RjZ

There are two sides to every argument of course, but at the end of the day, someone has to make a call about which side to choose. The company I work for delivers technology to help understand jet engines and the New York Times article  Mishap Raises Questions About Pratt and Whitney F-35 Engine caught my eye.

The Obama administration wants to cut funding for developing a second jet engine, claiming that it’s an example of government waste. Meanwhile, there are dozens of examples from history where having a back-up plan for a critical component has resulted in very significant savings over the long run.

From an engineering perspective, it is easy to be concerned that we might cancel support for other vendors during this trillion dollar development. Second vendors and designs make a lot of risk mitigation sense. From an economics perspective, that money isn’t going to waste. As GE performs similar work to Pratt and Whitney, the money the government spends flows into taxpayer’s pockets, and libertarian though I am, even I have to admit that government funding of incredibly expensive projects like this has made sense in the past. Isn’t creating jobs part of what the administration’s stimulus package is all about?

The Obama administrations critics correctly tell us that not funding a parallel development path for this critical military investment might well cost the United States loads of money in the long run. But let’s face it, as much as politicians would like to imagine it, there is no unlimited pot of taxpayer gold. We’ve already spent deep into the next generation and something has got to give. Where are the critics going to get the money? Build fewer roads? Stop funding education? Skipping the back-up plan for a jet engine may not make long term sense, but seems like it’s the only short term solution.

Leave a Comment