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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The engine that won't die

If House Republicans are serious about cutting wasteful spending, why do they insist on life support for a boondoggle jet engine the Defense Department does not want?

But here we are, once again, looking at a new life for the "spare" engine for the F-35 fighter jet, built by General Electric in Lynn and apparently possessing more lives than a House full of cats.

Despite the opposition of both George W. Bush AND Barack Obama (name anything else like that) GE and its congressional friends still come up with ways to keep the spare parts project alive. The rationale for this latest move is a beaut: they want to save the taxpayer's investment after GE and its partner, Rolls-Royce, pledged to fund further development themselves.
“It’s just common sense to protect the taxpayer investment that’s already been made instead of throwing it away, and this way private money can be spent on continued research, so that if circumstances change we’re not starting from square one,’’ [Sen. John Kerry] said.
If common sense had been involved from the beginning, there would be no spare engine. Where does it go? A special trunk where the pilot can take it out and install it in mid-air should the original engine sputter?

And if private money is going to be used to continue development, why do taxpayers need to do anything?

The Democrats in the Massachusetts delegation, joined by Sen. Scott Brown, have obviously played a major role in keeping this monstrosity alive.

But for a Republican House ready to strip Medicare and Medicaid to balance the budget, a move to keep alive a military sweetheart deal opposed by Democratic and Republican presidents shows just how empty their "promise" to cut wasteful spending really is.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The latest thing I read about the "new" GE engine was that it was green, and had an optional function that allowed it to save fuel when highest power was not needed. That caught my eye. OTOH, there was a design competition for the contract for the new engine and GE lost, so get over it and move on. In order to keep manufacturing capability for these engines, perhaps new engine projects should be divided up into two parts, design, and manufacturing. Once the design contract is awarded, the specs would be put out, and bids could come in for the manufacturing part of the project. The winning company would get the lions' share of the contract, but the second place bidder, if deemed capable, would get work as well, thus maintaining the manufacturing capability in the marketplace.

May 27, 2011 10:17 AM  

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