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Lesson to be learned on strike fighter engine

December 6, 2011
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

For years, taxpayers shelled out hundreds of millions of dollars in military funding unnecessarily, for a program the Defense Department said it didn't need. We refer to spending to develop and build not one, but two separate engines for the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Officials at the Pentagon said one good engine would be plenty, but for years Congress kept providing money for two. One argument, as you might expect, was that if the second engine program was scrapped, thousands of aerospace workers would lose their jobs.

Well, no.

The second engine was being developed by a GE Aviation unit near Cincinnati. When government funding was eliminated, GE officials said they might continue to fund the work privately.

Last week, GE said that wouldn't happen. The engine program is being discontinued.

Had it proceeded, GE might have added 500 jobs, a spokesman said. But he added about 800 jobs that had been committed to the project have been absorbed into other ones.

In other words, killing the massive waste of taxpayers' money resulted in no lost jobs. That is something to remember the next time a congressman or president insists that taxpayers must continue to dig into their pockets for spending not really needed for national defense - because jobs allegedly are at stake.



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