A recent article in Raleigh’s News and Observer focused on the F-35 jet. The American Friends Service Committee calls this weapon system the “plane that ate the budget” and puts the lifetime cost at $1.5 trillion. Over the same period of years that Lockheed Martin has encouraged Congress to continue funding the most expensive weapon system ever, we have cut many needed domestic programs that feed our hungry and educate our children.
This system isn’t yet working and is way behind schedule. Sen. John McCain said “The (F-35) Joint Strike Fighter program has been both a scandal and a tragedy. It has been an incredible waste of the taxpayers’ dollar…the path we are on is neither affordable nor sustainable.” One has to wonder how God is viewing this disaster. Do we hear the cries of our hungry children or the sick and disabled above the defense lobbyists? What has happened to our priorities?
We would be more secure and faithful to God’s calling if we ditched this ‘scandal’ and put the money in our nation’s infrastructure. According to the AFSC, it is estimated that the money spent for just one plane — roughly $610 million — could pay for 8,000 university scholarships, 1,300 elementary school teachers for a year, 1,100 police jobs for a year, 14,000 Head Start slots, 18,000 Pell Grants, and 12,000 health care slots for veterans. Even better, the total cost of the program could instead be invested to create a job paying $50,000 per year for every unemployed person in the U.S. for four years.
Why are we continuing to pump good money into this system when our bridges are crumbling, our schools are starved for funds, and millions live below the poverty line in this the richest country in the world? When will our Congress, so interested in reducing our national debt, start cutting Pentagon waste rather than the funding that helps struggling families?
May God have mercy and help us see and correct our mistakes.