Columns

February 3, 2010

Who can we trust?

A couple of nights ago, I happened to be home in time to watch “NBC Nightly News.” I will admit I rarely watch network news anymore. Unfortunately, the national media is no longer trustworthy to present, as Sgt. Joe Friday of “Dragnet” used to say, “Just the facts.”

I firmly believe all of the national news media now report with a bias toward one party or the other. It doesn’t matter which political party you support, you will have a media outlet reporting in a way that courts you. So it is obvious that trusting the media is risky at best.

But I digress. The “news story” was actually explaining that President Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the top leadership of the U.S. Air Force had tried to cancel future orders for the Air Force cargo plane, the C-17. Although this is a widely used and wonderfully performing cargo plane, the administration and the Air Force brass in evaluating the needs of the Air Force found that additional purchases were not needed.

Who then is forcing the purchase of planes we do not need? If you guessed Congress, ding … ding … ding… you win. At least according to NBC News, Congress is the cheerleader of this once-again wasteful spending. You are probably asking, “Why Congress is overriding the military experts, the civilian-appointed and Senate-approved secretary of defense and the president?”

Did you know that all the parts that are put together that ultimately make the C-17 airplane are produced in more than 35 states? And to stop producing this plane, would put a lot of people in many of the state represented by our esteemed members of Congress out of a job. Now, as an economic development professional, I know full well the ramifications of closing plants. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the last thing our economy needs right now is more plant closings and unemployment.

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