Thursday, August 06, 2009
At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress.h/t: Ed, who calls it a hidden earmark. Now if you think this is wasteful, you would be right if you don't believe government spending is stimulus. But if the reason for government spending is to improve the macroeconomy, then how do you protest spending money on Gulfstream, which produces planes in several places around the US, Mexico and London, in a depressed manufacturing sector. Hey! If you use the calculations this government uses, you've created 1.57*$195 million = $306.15 million in GDP and 2076 jobs! (Y'know, I could really do that Council of Economic Advisers job. I got math!)
The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream 550 jet (price tag: about $65 million) as part of an ongoing upgrade of its passenger air service.
But the House Appropriations Committee, at its own initiative, added to the 2010 Defense appropriations bill another $132 million for two more airplanes and specified that they be assigned to the D.C.-area units that carry Members of Congress, military brass and top government officials.
Because the Appropriations Committee viewed the additional aircraft as an expansion of an existing Defense Department program, it did not treat the money for two more planes as an earmark, and the legislation does not disclose which Member had requested the additional money.
An Appropriations Committee staffer said the military was already planning to replace its passenger fleet, and the committee �looked at the request and decided they should speed up the replacement.�
The Gulfstream G550 is a luxury business jet, which the company advertises as featuring long-range flight capacity that �easily links Washington, D.C., with Dubai, London with Singapore and Tokyo with Paris.� The company�s promotional materials say, �The cabin aboard the G550 combines productivity with exceptional comfort. It features up to four distinct living areas, three temperature zones, a choice of 12 floor plan configurations with seating for up to 18 passengers.�
And goodness knows, there's been a recent increase in demand for Gulfstream travel in Congress, so why not expand supply? The Speaker is just