Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 16, 2011

BOEHNER THINKS 'WE'RE BROKE,' BUT CAN AFFORD WASTEFUL SPENDING IN OHIO.... In justifying his support for putting up to a million Americans out of work, on purpose, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said yesterday, "We're broke."

It was an odd defense for deliberately-higher unemployment. We're facing a budget crunch, but it won't be solved by forcing hundreds of thousands of workers from their jobs, and it was Boehner who demanded the fiscal problems get worse just two months ago with additional tax breaks.

But there's an even more obvious problem. Boehner may be under the impression "we're broke," but the Speaker nevertheless believes there's enough money left to spend it on a pointless defense project that will benefit his home state.

Among the savings proposed by the Obama administration (and before that, the Bush administration) is to end the wasteful effort to develop a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Pentagon is satisfied with the engine it has, made by Pratt & Whitney, and it doesn't want the second engine, made by General Electric and others. Eliminating the second engine would save $450 million this year and some $3 billion over 10 years.

But it just so happens that a GE plant that develops the second engine employs 7,000 people in Evendale, Ohio, near Boehner's district. Rather than take a so-be-it attitude toward jobs his constituents may hold, he's backing an earmark-like provision in the spending legislation to keep funding the unneeded GE engine.

So, let me get this straight. John Boehner doesn't care if his agenda puts hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work, on purpose. He doesn't care if his cuts undermine education, law enforcement, infrastructure, and public safety. He doesn't care if his budget plan undermines economic growth, competitiveness, and innovation.

But if the Obama administration wants to cut wasteful spending on a military project the Pentagon doesn't want, all of a sudden, Boehner not only cares, but he's pushing unnecessary spending that "looks, feels, and smells very much like an earmark."

Rachel Maddow's right -- Boehner just isn't good at his job.

A House vote on whether to waste nearly $3 billion over the next few years on an engine the Pentagon doesn't want is expected later today.

Steve Benen 10:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Deficits, wasteful spending, blah, blah, blah.
Losing jobs, 'so be it...'

What, in my district?
'It be so?'

Build that 2nd engine no one wants!
'Be it so!'

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Boehner bows( or bends over ) to the Koch BROS and fascist thinking. Americans are not important. Worshipping $$$ and power is all that matters.

Posted by: MLJohnston on February 16, 2011 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Why did Ohioians vote for this man, John Boehner?. He voted to have jobs sent overseas and decimated Ohio's economy.

Posted by: ML Johnston on February 16, 2011 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Funny how we had to invade Iraq right away back in 2003, deficits be damned. But now when the country is facing an economic crisis which has a much more immediate and widespread impact on most Americans that Saddam's nonexistent WMD ever did, the deficit is the top priority.

True, the deficit is much larger now that it was when Georgie went off on his Excellent Iraq adventure, but I don't think the country will be swallowed up by a huge sinkhole if we fail to listen to the Republicans' overwrought rhetoric.

On the other hand, the consequences of actually enacting the beyond-stupid GOP budget might be pretty dire, indeed.

Posted by: David Bailey on February 16, 2011 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

And interestingly enough, our own Frank Guinta in NH-01 is in favor of this particular earmark, although he ran against earmarks, including those for NH. He says it will create jobs, but he doesn't mention that they are not in NH. I wonder where his campaign contributions came from? He still has $355K unaccounted for, which he says he can't discuss "on principle."

Posted by: bloomingpol on February 16, 2011 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

John McCain performs the same service in Arizona. He opposes all earmarks UNLESS they're military-industrial complex related. Fortunately, for Arizona, we've got some major players (Boeing, Honeywell, Raytheon, General Dynamics). Nothing says fiscal probity better than wrapping yourself in a flag and opposing $30 billion in earmarks while continually pimping for major defense contractors.

Posted by: walt on February 16, 2011 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter GOP: We got ours. FUCK YOU!

Posted by: Marko on February 16, 2011 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

"A House vote on whether to waste nearly $3 billion over the next few years on an engine the Pentagon doesn't want is expected later today."

How do the Republicans do it? They get everyone worried about the deficits after creating the deficits in the first place. Then they vote to keep the Bush tax cuts that created the deficits. Then they vote for this sort of thing. Yet they continue to use deficits as their blunt instrument to kill any meaningful action on our real problem which is jobs, jobs, jobs.

And the inconsistency hasn't made their brains explode or turned the Republican brand into toxic waste. How do they do this???

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 16, 2011 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

God, when will someone finally start rhetorically beating Boner up on this and other obvious transgressions? How long can the cognitive dissonance persist in the MSM?

Don't answer that question. I don't want to know.

Posted by: bdop4 on February 16, 2011 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

A little perspective here--this is absolutely routine Congressional hypocrisy, practiced all the time, on both sides of the aisle, and it has been this way for years.

Yes, it's a good "gotcha", but let's not treat this as some sort of shocking discovery.

Let's also bear in mind that Boehner, like most of his colleagues who have been in Congress for a while, are unwilling converts to the anti-earmark cause. They've been pressured into the anti-earmark posture because of Tea Party pressure. IN any event, Boehner's opposition to cutting this program isn't an earmark issue, it's a policy issue.

Posted by: DRF on February 16, 2011 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with DRF, this is simply politics and Boner is a politician. However it does provide an excellent opportunity for the TeaParty to crack his head. I'm guessing they won't.

Posted by: T2 on February 16, 2011 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Can we launch a group called the realist party to counter the tea party bullshit please?

Posted by: Trollop on February 16, 2011 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

I had a long political discussion with my brother the diehard Republican last evening. I discovered that he is truely pissed about Boehner's earmark. I also discovered he refuses to disbelieve anything he hears on Fox or to believe anything he hears on MSNBC or CNN. He treats as gospel everything printed in the Wall Street Journal, and believes the NYTs is a pack of lies.

When we cut through the media generated bullshit, we realized that we are not as far apart as we thought. We both agree that long term we have to get the debt under control, but so far neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are serious about the budget because they refuse to talk about defense cuts or increasing taxes.

We have got to find reliable information sources both Republicans and Democrats can trust.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 16, 2011 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Boner:

"BUT I CAN!!!!"

Posted by: citizen_pain on February 16, 2011 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

@Ron Byers - Democrats "refuse to talk about defense cuts"? That is not quite accurate:

Democrats' bold stand: Want to trim federal debt? Cut defense.

(2010) Gates' defense budget makes sweeping cut
(Gates may or may not be a Democrat, but he proposed making these cuts under a Democratic President)

2012 Budget: "Overall, the Defense Department budget is declining, with funding for overseas contingency operations dropping by $41.5 billion, due mainly to military operations winding down in Iraq, officials said."

"The fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011 budgets ended a number of major programs that were no
longer needed or that were troubled by cost or execution problems. During preparation of the
fiscal 2012 budget, DoD continued a comprehensive search for efficiencies, focusing on its
business operations. This far-reaching effort resulted in savings totaling $178 billion in fiscal 2012 to 2016."
More on defense savings/cuts:

Posted by: June on February 16, 2011 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: download zone on February 16, 2011 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK


I take you at your word, and I know Gates has been trying to trim the defense budget since before Obama was elected, but the Democrats sure haven't been very loud about cutting defense, and the congress has consistently restored Gate's proposed cuts. The last two years the Congress was controlled by Democrats.

Anyway there is a perception that neither party is willing to cut defense. Maybe we should brief the media.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 16, 2011 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

And let's remember, as Dean Baker pointed out this morning, WE AREN'T BROKE.

We are the wealthiest country in the world (AMERICA #1) and other countries are willing to lend us money (Treasury Bonds) at near zero percent interest.

This whole defict/debt/slashing debate is just plain insane.

Posted by: martin on February 16, 2011 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

If he doesn't get his way the Weeper of the House will cry.

Posted by: ofladrt on February 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

"...but the Democrats sure haven't been very loud about cutting defense..." Ron Buyers @ 1:49 PM

Considering what would happen in the MSM if they DID, I'm not surprised. On the other hand, how many Democrats OPPOSE Sec. Gates proposed reductions?
The Defense budget has been out of control for over a quarter of a century and I'm quite happy so long as it's shrinking. If the President or ANY high ranking Democrat came out in favor of reducing the DoD budget, the right-wing screams would likely shatter your television screen.
In the words of the Republican Speaker of the House: If it requires a Republican SecDef to provide cover, "so be it"!

Posted by: Doug on February 16, 2011 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK



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