The C-17 Globemaster III is highly successful American-built military transport aircraft, used not only by the United States but many of our allies. It forms a critical part in the massive system of military airlift that, for better or worse, holds together the American global "empire of bases". The United States currently operates about 190 of the aircraft and the Air Force says that they do not need any more.
Congress, nevertheless, has allocated funding for at least ten more transports. At $200 million per aircraft, that adds up to $2 billion taken from hard-working American taxpayers (and borrowed from American citizens yet unborn) to build aircraft that the Air Force doesn't even want. It is a clear case of Congress deciding military funding policy not on based on military necessity, but on purely political motivations.
The long-established defense contractor Boeing is the primary corporation responsible for building the C-17, and is clearly determined to squeeze every taxpayer dollar that it can out of the program. Not surprisingly, the members of Congress who have been the biggest pushes for the purchase of additional C-17s, such as Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT), have campaign accounts awash in contributions from the company.
John McCain (R-AZ), the recent Republican presidential candidate, has probably been the loudest voice raised in opposition to buying additional C-17s. In this, he has a somewhat ironic ally in President Obama, who has called on the Senate to reject the appropriation. Unfortunately, the Senate voted down a proposal to strip the funding out of the defense appropriations bill in October, and President Obama decided to sign the bill rather than go to the wall on the issue of the C-17s.
Few should doubt that many members of Congress, prompted by their corporate masters at Boeing, will continue to push for even more C-17s in the next congressional session and beyond. It i similar to story we saw with the F-22; a military product becomes a cash cow for a well-connected corporation, and its minions in Congress continue to fund additional units long after the military has said it does not need any more.
When this happens, the federal government is effectively robbing from the poor to give to the rich, and worsening an already disastrous national fiscal crisis. Though perfectly legal, it's a sinister form of Hamiltonian corruption and must be stopped. All 21st Century Jeffersonians should contact their own representatives in the House and Senate and make it clear to them that they want the production of further C-17s halted. And be sure to hold their feet to the fire at every townhall meeting you can get to.