Last week, over the objections of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and the Obama administration, the House Armed Services Committee restored funding for the basically useless F-22 fighter jet, in the process stripping funding for nuclear waste cleanup efforts. Last night, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) filed an amendment to restore the waste cleanup funds and eliminate the money for the F-22. The move came after months of Republicans issuing dire warnings about the consequences of suspending the F-22 program: Frank Gaffney, for example, declared it would lead to “diminished military capability, emboldening enemies, and alienating our friends.”
But it’s time to give Congressman Franks the microphone:
I am of course struck that so many of my colleagues who are so worried about the deficit apparently think the Pentagon is funded with Monopoly money that somehow doesn’t count ... These arguments will come from the very people who denied that the economic recovery plan created any jobs. We have a very odd economic philosophy in Washington. It’s called weaponized Keynesianism. It is the view that the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation.
A follow-up question given the role of the marginal propensity to import in the size of the Keynesian multiplier: when the government purchases a military airplane, how much of that comes from domestic versus foreign content as opposed to when the government decides to have a bridge built?