Friday, January 30, 2009

Nothing to Fear But Warships Themselves

As long as the federal stimulus package seems to be mostly about funding a program wishlist that has been backing up for the last eight years, based on the dubious claim that we are nearing Great Depression territory, might I remind us all that FDR included a good number of warships in the New Deal programs?

[The] sum of not to exceed $238,000,000 to the Department of the Navy for the construction of certain vessels, the construction whereof conforms to the London Naval Treaty and has heretofore been approved by me.

In the end, these outlays funded (see pages 287-288) the aircraft carriers Yorktown and Enterprise, which held the line in the Pacific in the early days of World War II, as well as 4 light cruisers, 4 heavy cruisers, and numerous destroyers, submarines, planes, and other naval purchases. The Army too benefitted with scores of military airports and Army posts plus aircraft.

You know, we might consider this approach if "stimulus" isn't restricted to arts subsidies and acorn museums, or whatever is in that bill.

UPDATE: Well, unless the stimulus package addresses the military, look for a defense industry recession according to Admiral Mullen:

[The] weapons procurement budget, which averaged about 20 percent of fiscal 2008 and 2009 defense spending, will come under increased scrutiny, Mullen said.

“We’ve got to fund the wars we are in,” and that “puts an awful lot of pressure” on decreasing spending on weapon modernization and the repair of war-worn equipment, he said.

The largest part of the weapons accounts is tactical aircraft, shipbuilding and ground equipment produced by Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon Co. and BAE Systems Plc.

Well, then Defense takes a hit. Which is ok since I guess the war is over, right? How much do hand cuffs and court-appointed attorneys cost, anyway?