Despite previously promising to veto any legislation that included funding for the wasteful and unnecessary alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter plane, the White House has recently backpedaled furiously on spending for the General Electric engine, suggesting it may not, in fact, oppose the abusive earmark after all. After the 2011 budget fight commenced in a four month Continuing Resolution, observers thought the fight for funding over the engine – which the Pentagon has not requested for four years but has still received hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds – was dead. However, at the last minute the acting Director of the Office of Budget and Management decided to ignore the guidance authored in the fall by his office that would have prohibited funding for the engine and promised the alternative line would receive funds.
The headscratching on this obvious about-face likely ceased today with the announcement that the CEO of General Electric will be joining the Obama White House as the acting head of the newly-created Council on Jobs and Competitveness. The administration, which has pushed record government spending and presided over massive and prolonged unemployment as a result, has given little reason for a private businessman to say friendly things about the condition of America's competitiveness. However, the F-35 earmark, which funnels $3 billion to the alternative engine line, may be the sweetener the White House needed to continue its pro-business public relations blitz without actually instituting positive policy solutions to that effect.
While the President continues to indulge his big government agenda at the cost of American jobs and economic recovery, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist has offered plenty of pro-growth suggestions to fix the country's economic malaise; President Obama has yet to heed his advice. While there will likely be many platitudes to the business community included in his State of the Union address next week, the President has given private enterprise little reason to be encouraged about the economic outlook – and this latest taxpayer-funded facade that the Obama White House is suddenly becoming business friendly does little to erase those doubts.