Dear Editor: Following decades of federal and state cutbacks in support for social services, public education, infrastructure, environmental protections and more, Wisconsin’s counties and municipalities increasingly have been forced to seek alternative funding sources such as the "private sector” or increasingly, largess from those major beneficiaries of federal spending, the Pentagon and its corporate contractors. With other sources pared to the bone, military spending at the local level has somehow come to be viewed by some, including a number of ostensibly “progressive” politicians, as a palliative to ceaseless “belt tightening” and budget cuts.

In Madison and beyond, “business community” spokespersons have been busy promoting the false promises of trickle-down “development” and the multiplier effects that supposedly would accompany the basing of the U.S. Air Force’s F-35s at Truax. They simultaneously deride the opposition as a ragtag bunch of NIMBY naysayers, opponents of ”progress,” or unpatriotic “peaceniks” dead set against the military’s “mission” to provide “defense" and “security” and preserve "freedom."

Numerous pieces over recent years have detailed the F-35's history as nothing more than a massive pork-barrel boondoggle, a case study in unprecedented Defense Department cost overrides shelled out by the taxpayer. Worse, a number of these budget-busting war machines, their engines seemingly sucking in additional millions, have crashed or been grounded while being “tested." But what the hey… “jobs” and promised millions to “the local economy” should not be passed up. At least according to those business boosters promoting the Truax basing.

Allen Ruff


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