I started writing this post last week, but I was unable to finish it. In some ways, I’m really at a loss for words. Like many of you, I’m terribly offended and troubled by President Trump’s executive order banning refugees and immigrants from seven primarily Muslim countries.
How on earth did we get here?
A while back I wrote a blog post about then-candidate Trump and his platform. I was never a Trump supporter, but rather wrote it as a thought experiment (at a time when it seemed very unlikely that Trump would win) to really understand why people considered him a good candidate for president. At the time, there was an angle that actually made a lot of sense to me.
In the post I talked about the somewhat popular opinion that our government is “broken.” The quintessential example of broken government that I highlighted was the plan for the F-35 airplane and it’s supposed $1.5 trillion price tag. I linked to a Quora article by Jack Menendez that called this price tag an example of government corruption.
In his bitter rebuke of the F-35 program, which I found very compelling, Menendez writes:
“The entire F-35 program is supposed to cost $1.5 trillion; in today’s dollars that is 3 times what the interstate highway system cost and 14 times the cost of the entire Apollo program i.e. going to the moon.”
On the surface, and without thinking about it much, this is a very troubling reality and one that might warrant a new kind of President to go into Washington and disrupt the status quo. That’s where I hypothesized Trump could be (and has been) successful.
There’s one small problem though – Menendez had the facts wrong. As it turns out, the $1.5T figure isn’t in today’s dollars, and there is a lot more in the F-35 program than just building an airplane.