We can all agree that we should cut down the deficit, right? And most rational people believe that the way to do this is to go through the budget line by line and remove wasteful liberal spending liketaking kids to amusement parks that consume literally fractions of pennies out of each precious tax dollar! But Barack Obama is an "outside-the-box" thinker who's actually looking at the defense budget, and the things it buys, like half a billion dollars worth of R&D for a jet engine that the Pentagon doesn't want. Why is Obama trying to alienate the last company that still sort of likes him?

The engine is for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, named after Obama's favorite labor union negotiating technique. GE has been working on an engine for it, and they only need like another $485 million to get it right, they swear, but the Pentagon would rather Pratt & Whitney build it. Both companies have been lobbying like crazy on the issue (GE with a bipartisan team including Dick Gephardt, John Breaux, Don Nickles, and Trent Lott) and buying a bunch of advertising, presumably in Jet Engine Weekly; GE has a lot more money to spend on this, though, possibly because it got some of that sweet bailout cash while the getting it was good.

Now Obama has threatened to veto this year's defense appropriations bill if it has the money for GE in it, which is poignant and sad because GE was all in favor Obama's communist stimulus, and its chairman sits on a White House economic advisory panel. And this is the payback they get? No loyalty these days! Oh, also, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is part of the appropriations bill, so a veto would derail that plan, because literally everything that happens in American politics shits on the gays, somehow.

No matter how this dispute plays out, the portion of the Defense Department budget allocated to simply allowing billions of dollars to vanish into thin air will not be affected. [WP/WP]


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