Brother, Can You Spare $100 Billion?

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Robert Farley's making new allies in his war on the air force, as the service's top brass decides that this particular historical moment in which the U.S. is fighting two simultaneous wars in which F-22s aren't useful would be a good opportunity to insist that it needs more money to buy F-22s.

Specifically, they'd like "an extra $20 billion each year over the next five" even though it would be exceedingly odd to make that kind of financial commitment to the service least impacted by current action.

In the Air Force's defense, I would say that both the point about the aging of the F-15s and the point about the number of F-22s currently on order looking a bit small have some merit to them. But this is an entirely self-generated problem. Instead of finding a cost-effective solution to the problem of aging F-15s -- like building new, somewhat upgraded F-15s -- the Air Force decided to design an impractically expensive new air superiority fighter. Having done so, the country now can't afford these planes in the quantity the Air Force deems desirable. It'd be as if the NYPD first insisted that in the future it would only buy cars from Lexus and then wound up puzzled as to why they didn't have enough cars.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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