There are wasteful government programs, and then there are wasteful government programs.
At this point, the F-35 is a government waste icon. In 2012, Foreign Policy called the F-35 Joint Strikefighter “The Jet That Ate The Pentagon.”
“It’s no secret, however, that the program — the most expensive in American history — is a calamity” wrote former Capitol Hill national security adviser Winslow Wheeler.
“This month, we learned that the Pentagon has increased the price tag for the F-35 by another $289 million — just the latest in a long string of cost increases — and that the program is expected to account for a whopping 38 percent of Pentagon procurement for defense programs, assuming its cost will grow no more.”
Again, this was in 2012. Of course its cost grew.
On Monday, Donald Trump tweeted:
The New York Times reported Monday, “In a Twitter post on Monday morning and a series of comments since last week, the president-elect assailed cost overruns for the Lockheed Martin-built fighter jet that have pushed the project’s cost beyond $400 billion, making the plane the most expensive weapons system in military history.”
Trump seems to have began a pattern of pinpointing specific wasteful projects. Last week, the President-elect criticized plans to spend $4 billion on Air Force One upgrades:
CNN reported in July on the F-35 program’s staggering long-term costs (emphasis added), “The price tag for all of these benefits, however, is nearly $400 billion for 2,457 planes — almost twice the initial estimate.”
“To maintain and operate the JSF program over the course of its lifetime, the Pentagon will invest nearly $1 trillion, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO),” CNN noted then.
In 2015, Coalition to Reduce Spending President Jonathan Bydlak noted at Rare:
It’s hard to make a list of wasteful spending without mentioning the disastrous F-35, which has been called “exceptionally dumb.” At times almost resembling satire from The Onion, these planes are so bad they sometimes catch fire when trying to take off and can’t even maneuver in combat because of major design flaws. It’s no surprise that other aircraft are being used in current military missions against ISIS. The F-35 system is simultaneously way behind schedule and already outdated.