Between the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps, the current U.S. inventory of various types of Abrams main battle tanks is 5,970. The Pentagon said it had enough tanks and proposed putting the Lima, Ohio defense plant where they are built into mothballs for a while. The inventory is over $25 Billion in tanks, just sitting there, based upon the $4,300,000 replacement cost. That's before the country spends a dime on fuel, crews and maintenance, year after year. At the same time, our military doesn't seem to be engaged in many missions involving tank battles.
Not enough tanks, shouts Paul Ryan!
"We have a President who has proposed again and again to shut down this tank factory, the only one we have, over a budget gimmick," Mr. Ryan told a crowd inside the Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center.
"If we keep showing that the only thing we want to do is gut our military, that projects weakness abroad, our adversaries are so much more willing to test us, our allies are so much less willing to trust us. We need peace through strength," he said.
That's right. America will look weak and our allies won't trust us unless we build that 5,971st Abrams tank in Lima, Ohio. Nothing makes a country look strong like wasting national treasure on completely unnecessary military expenditures that do nothing to improve the nation's defense readiness. Think France and the Maginot Line
Ryan's lunacy on employment comes from his sudden embrace of government spending to save jobs. But at least he goes after it with the enthusiasm of a convert. The Pentagon says it will save a billion dollars over the next 4 years by shuttering the plant. Reports say the plant employs about 800 people. That is $312,500 per worker per year. Ryan has been fighting much less generous jobs bills in Congress for years for other Americans, whom, we must suppose, are less deserving in Paul Ryan's calculus than the defense workers in Lima, Ohio.
The deficit lunacy, of course, is the Romney/Ryan magic mind trick in which defense spending is different from all other kinds of spending and receives miraculous dispensation. As the LA Times noted:
Romney and Ryan have called for sharp federal spending cuts but have carved out an exception for defense, which their campaign advisors hope will produce political dividends in places such as Lima.
In response to Ryan’s remarks, Obama campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said the congressman had “repeatedly authored and voted for automatic defense cuts.” “But this time, the only thing ensuring that these cuts will become reality is Mitt Romney and Congressman Ryan’s opposition to asking for a penny more from millionaires and billionaires,” Kanner said.
The other thing that struck me about Ryan's appearance in Lima was how well it reflects the difference in how the two tickets go about campaigning. Compare Ryan's tour in Ohio, for example, with President Obama's appearance in Milwaukee last weekend. Every word, gesture and expression by President Obama in his Milwaukee appearance was designed to fire up the large crowd and keep them screaming in their seats and canvassing their neighborhoods for the next seven weeks.
Ryan's appearance, like most others and many of Romney's appearances, are staged solely to criticize President Obama, usually falsely, as in the case of the Janesville assembly plant that Bush closed but Ryan blamed Obama for. Here, though, the theme is sheer demagoguing hypocrisy by a candidate without scruples, selling nothing but fear and doubt. It's all in tune with the doom and gloom messaging their ticket has opted for, and which Ryan was peddling again today in Cincinnati when he said:
Ryan said that under Obama's leadership, businesses like Byer Steel will have a future of more debt, more government borrowing and spending, and higher taxes and interest rates.
"It's a path of debt, it's a path of doubt and decline," Ryan said. "If we don't tackle this problem pretty soon it's going to tackle us."
It's good that the overall management of the Romney/Ryan campaign appears so inept. Ryan is a tool they could use any way they want. He's the anti-Palin, like her, willing to say and do anything, unlike her, obedient. I'm glad they haven't found an effective way to use him.
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