The Arrogance of Earmarks: Pentagon Halts Pork Spending


Posted by Mattie Duppler on Thursday, March 24th, 2011, 4:18 PM PERMALINK

Today, the Pentagon issued a stop-work order to General Electric (GE), requiring the company to halt production of its F-35 alternate engine program. The program, unwanted by the Pentagon and the White House and not funded in any appropriations bill that has passed either chamber of Congress this year, has already cost taxpayers billions and run over its deadlines and cost projections. That the alternate engine earmark has still received funding despite these objections illustrates all that is wrong in the Washington spending circus.

While the Obama Administration issued guidance on the appropriations process that should have prevented the alternate engine program from receiving funding last year, the petty politics of pork have since allowed the program to continue to receive funding in FY 2011. The Pentagon stood strong with taxpayers today by putting its foot down once and for all and issuing a stop-work order.

However, GE—thumbing its nose at the taxpayers who have been the unwitting benefactors of its wasteful and unnecessary extra engine program for years—announced today that it will continue work on the extraneous engine and expects its government funding to be reinstated in next year’s budget measure.

“This is denial on steroids,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. “The White House, the Pentagon and Congress have all refused to continue to underwrite GE’s failed second engine program. The company proclaims it is going to self-fund the line until government funding is returned, even though the government’s lack of sponsorship of the engine’s production entails little desire to purchase it as well. There’s a helpful lesson to be learned here about the detriment of government subsidies: this project illustrates the kind of business government underwrites—one that makes products for which there is no demand.”

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