Rushville Republican

Opinion

August 21, 2012

Less government waste or job saving - which do you prefer?

RUSHVILLE — Dear Editor:

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his speech upon departing the presidency, warned against the growing power of the military/industrialist complex, wherein the military and those producing military materiel were working hand-in-glove, each feeding off the other, at the expense of the taxpayer.

A situation now exists that is directly opposed to that one-hand-feeds-the-other threat.

The following information is taken from a story in the Indianapolis Star which emanated from an outfit called The Center for Public Integrity. I know nothing about this group, but the story appears to be straightforward. The following summarizes the main points to conform to space limitations.

The situation presented is that a large factory in Ohio is fighting to retain contracts to refurbish the M1 Abrams tank, which has been in service for decades. The Pentagon, contrary to their record of spending money without recourse to good sense, does not want this expensive refurbishment done. They declare they have more tanks than they need; in fact, Pentagon officials stated, "these are tanks that we don't need."

The Army already has more than 2,300 M1s deployed with U.S. forces around the world and roughly 3,000 sitting at a remote military base in California's Sierra Nevada mountains. It is highly unlikely that any of these tanks will ever be used.

The Ohio factory says that the Pentagon's proposal to stop the refurbishing of the tanks "would idle a large factory in Lima, Ohio, as well as halt work at dozens of subcontractors in Pennsylvania, Michigan and other states."

It's pertinent to mention that the Abrams tank manufacturer, General Dynamics, "has pumped millions of dollars into congressional elections of the past decade" and continues to do so. Naturally, they are very opposed to the Pentagon's plan.

Here's the conundrum: Should the Pentagon/government/taxpayers/you spend several billions of dollars doing work that serves no useful purpose in order to retain jobs?

There are citizens and political candidates who preach incessantly against wasteful government spending; they are equally vehement about retaining and/or creating jobs.

Okay, here's a situation where one can't be on both sides, although politicians will attempt to fence straddle. I don't know the answer, perhaps you do. If so, I welcome your input to normvoiles@frontier.com.

I suppose in a perfect world, those factory workers turning out an unwanted, unneeded product could be somehow transferred into producing an actual desired product, thereby eliminating the government waste and preserving the jobs.

But I don't see this happening.

Best regards,

Norm Voiles

Resident of Rush County; native of Decatur County

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