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?