On this F35 v. Buying A Car Analogy Spin

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The F-35 is in the news again, or at least the Harper regime’s complete bungling of the acquisition and the subsequent complete misleading of Parliament on the costs of the jets and guns.

The Conservatives have a line of spin that’s been sticking – and that really frustrates me.  Laurie Hawn, for example, the caustic Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Defence, has said that when it comes to budgeting the costs of the jets, it’s not right to include “oil and gas and parts” and things like that — and he then likened buying the jet to buying a car.

According to Hawn – and the other Conservative spin-bots – you don’t include the operating costs – that is, the costs of fuel and oil and supplies when you’re buying a new vehicle because you’ve already got that budgeted when you already have a car.

Except this is total bullshit.  When you’re buying a car, or anything that consumes expensive supplies as a consequence of you using it, you want to know the operating costs of what you’re buying.  You want to know if the new car guzzles gas at 3 times the rate as the old one, or half the rate of the old one.

If you’re moving from an old Ford pickup that drinks down gasoline like you drink down water to a hybrid car that uses 25% of the fuel, you want to know how much you will save on fuel.  If, on the other hand, you’re switching from a hybrid to a four-door pickup, you want to know how much more you’ll be forking out.

The suggestion that the F-35 will have the exact same operating costs as our current jets is laughable without providing the numbers, which the government has pointedly refused to do.

To suggest that the operating costs won’t change, and that we shouldn’t consider it in our purchasing is misleading. And it’s bullshit.

To go back to the analogy of buying a car – isn’t it the case that operating costs are the reason behind the stickers in car windows?


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Kevin is a cooperator, an always-student, and passionate about the arts. As a principal of the Incipe Cooperative, Kevin works with colleagues in a workers' co-op offering services for advocacy and nonprofit organizations. He's passionate about education policy, having been through twenty some-odd years of schooling and still thinking it changes the world. He also thinks that art changes the world, and he works with Art for Impact to celebrate art's power for social change. A Vancouver born and raised resident who is exiled from Toronto, he constantly loses umbrellas and probably rants too much.

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3 thoughts on “On this F35 v. Buying A Car Analogy Spin”

  1. All I see in this horrible, horrible issue is lies and contempt. That, and are these the airborne machines we need, what are our goals for airborne machines, do we want engines with said machines?

  2. The spin works… if you’re the kind of 1% person who doesn’t care about fuel efficiency because you can always afford the costs. For this government they’re likely thinking that this will be a good way to stick the next government with an overpriced maintainence price tag that forces more money into military technology that could go to making this country a better place.

  3. It really is very easy to respond to it. Point out that when he/she buys a minivan/car, it is not subject to Treasury Board rules because the money is coming out of his/her own pocket. However, these F35s cost billions of dollars and the money is coming out of the pockets of millions of taxpayers. Thus the purchase is subject to Treasury Board rules which clearly include operating costs (petrol, repairs, etc). Give him/her a link to Treasury Board w/s for life cycle costs (see Section 3): http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pol/doc-eng.aspx?id=14671&section=text

    The key is that when you encounter someone who keeps repeating the same lies over and over, you have to counter the lies every time especially since we seem to be dealing with some 35% of voters who are either very partisan, disconnected or stupid.

    If all else fails, tell them this joke. How can you tell when you are dealing with a Conservative supporter? Answer: He/she has a spanking new shiny BMW in the garage because he/she could not afford to pay for the fuel because Conservatives do not think about operating costs. Then run as fast as you can for your own safety ….. LOL

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