Another day, another dollar …

“Another day, another dollar” – don’t you wish things were that cheap!

Conn M. Hallinan, a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus, gives awards every year to news stories and newsmakers that fall under the category of “Are you serious?” Here’s the one he designated as “The Golden Lemon Award.”

“The Golden Lemon Award once again goes to Lockheed Martin (with a tip of the hat to sub-contractors Northrop Grumman, BAE, L-3 Communications, United Technologies Corp., and Honeywell) for ‘shoddy’ work on the F-35 stealth fighter, the most expensive weapons system in U.S. history. The plane – already 10 years behind schedule and 100 percent over budget – has vacuumed up $ 395.7 billion, and will eventually cost $ 1.5 trillion.

“A Pentagon study, according to Agence France Presse, ‘cited 363 problems in the design and manufacture of the costly Joint Strike Fighter, the hi-tech warplane that is supposed to serve as the backbone of the future American fleet.’

“The plane has difficulty performing at night or in bad weather, and is plagued with a faulty oxygen supply system, fuselage cracks and unexplained ‘hot spots.’ Its software is also a problem, in part because it is largely untested. ‘Without adequate product evaluation of mission system software,’ the Pentagon found, ‘Lockheed Martin cannot ensure aircraft safety requirements are met.’

“In the meantime, extended unemployment benefits have been cut from the federal budget. The cost? About $ 25 billion, or 25 F-35Cs that don’t work.” –

Let’s put this all into perspective and begin with the “extended unemployment benefits” that have been “cut from the federal budget.” The Dec. 28th report from the Associated Press stated that:

“More than 1 million Americans are bracing for a harrowing post-Christmas jolt as extended federal unemployment benefits come to a sudden halt this weekend …

“Nudging Congress along, a vacationing (!) President Obama called two senators proposing an extension to offer his support. From Hawaii (!) Obama pledged Friday to push Congress to move quickly next year to address the ‘urgent economic priority,’ the White House said.

“For families dependent on cash assistance, the end of the federal government’s ’emergency employment compensation’ will mean some difficult belt-tightening as enrollees lose their average monthly stipend of $ 1,166 …

“An estimated 1.3 million people will be cut off when the federally funded unemployment payments end Saturday.” –

That “costly” Joint Strike Fighter weapons program, it turns out, calls for a “fleet” of 2,443 aircraft. So, at $ 1 billion a copy, the projected cost is not a paltry $ 1.5 trillion but a very lucrative $ 2.443 trillion. Right? Simple math.

More simple math. If each of those 1.3 million Americans are being shorted $ 1,166 every month, then over a 12-month period the U.S. economic “recovery” will take quite a hit. That amounts to a cool $ 18,189,600,000 – and that money will be directed toward the cost of 18 of those F-35Cs. And you can rest assured that is exactly what will happen..

It shouldn’t take a master’s degree in math to figure this one out. First of all, we don’t need those “Joint Strike Fighters”. We’ve been without them for more than ten years, so let’s put them on hold for another ten years.

Let’s be honest, those medal-winners listed above have no intention of ever getting beyond the lucrative development stages of this “weapons system”. Those leaches would never “kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.” For them it’s like Christmas every day.

But let’s put the F-35 program on ice and spend the $ 18 billion every year on something that will contribute to a real economic recovery. A few years back, Norman Mineta stated that we should enable 200 more of our smaller ports to handle containers. By bringing goods closer to end users, he pointed out, costs would be lowered, thousand of longshoremen would be needed, more short haul truckers would find employment, our highways would be subjected to less wear and tear, and pollution would be reduced, for starters.

Those 200 ports could be updated for less than $ 40 million per location, and the whole 200 of them would be on line – at a cost of less than $ 8 billion!

The billions and billions of dollars thrown at the Joint Strike Fighters haven’t returned one thin dime to us taxpayers, and those billions and billions of dollars never will. 200 more container-handling ports, however, generating thousands of new jobs for longshoremen, truckers, warehousing operations and the newly employed at hundreds of U.S. manufacturing facilities would provide quite a boost to our nation’s economy.

That leftover $ 10 billion could also be used for beneficial purpose. First and foremost, we could bring all our young servicemen and women back home. We’d need them as well-paid longshoremen, truckers, and in countless other positions in what would become a booming economy.

Imagine giving those young ones a chance to be gainfully employed, or to be given scholarships at schools of their choice. If each of some 5 million of our returning service personnel were given a guaranteed starting annual salary of $ 100,000.00, that would only come to $ 500 billion. Heck, didn’t our stalwarts in D.C. hand over $ 16 trillion to banksters and to those rascals on Wall Street?

If its so easy for the hucksters in Washington to come up with trillions of dollars at the drop of a hat – and on the sly – why couldn’t they just as easily throw a few trillion dollars into the patented shipbuilding and container yard programs we’ve been bringing to their attention?