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Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II   (Source: Lockheed Martin)
In addition, USAF Bomber Program Office created to prepare for bomber replacement

The most expensive weapons program on the budget for the U.S. Armed Forces is the F-35 Lightning II program. The fighter jets are plagued with cost overruns and issues that have lead to delays and many fights in Washington. Despite all the turmoil, the first production F-35 Lightning II was delivered to the USAF marking an important milestone in the program.

One of the components of the F-35 program that was killed to save money was the development of an alternate engine for the aircraft. The second engine was being developed by General Electric and Rolls Royce, but he House recently voted to pull funding.

Despite the pulled funding, the secondary engine for the F-35 came up again in The House Armed Services Committee with a new amendment to the 2012 defense authorization bill. The amendment didn't approve any new funding for the second engine, but left the door open for GE and Rolls Royce to continue the development of the second engine at their own expense. GE announced that it would like to continue development of the engine.

The amendment dictates that the Pentagon cannot destroy any data relating to the second engine and to support the continued development. Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon said the development of the second engine at no cost was a "no brainer."

Another amendment was voted down that would have cut the buy of F-35 jets in 2012 from six aircraft to four. The Amendment was withdrawn when it didn't have the votes to pass.

While the second engine for the F-35 is cropping up again in the House, the DoD is also moving forward on its plan to seek a replacement for the aging bomber fleet in the USAF toady.

The DoD has approved a USAF Bomber Program Office that will work to get plans in place for the branch’s next generation bomber. Air Force undersecretary Erin Conaton said, "We've got a general mandate from the Secretary of Defense to go forward with standing up the program office, so we're just at the beginning of that work."

Currently the estimate for the number of bombers needed is 80 to 100. One of the first things that will be done is to set firmer requirements on the number of bombers needed.

Conaton said, "Eighty to 100 is our current best estimate of what we think we'll need, but that estimate will be refined over time as we see the capability and what we think we can afford." She continued, " We don't have a full life-cycle cost [for the bomber] yet. That's the work that'll be done now by the program office as they stand up."

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RE: Poor
By TSS on 5/13/2011 7:30:14 PM , Rating: 2,8599,1...

the "surplus" is already beeing used to pay retirees. But what i wonder is what the government defines as "surplus".

So far from what i've been reading online, the "trust fund" is worth $2,6 trillion dollars currently. What that isn't though, is a pile of cash. It's in some form of bonds, and it looks to be government securities. Wikipedia says:
It is instructive to note that the $2.5 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund has value, not as a tangible economic asset, but because it is a claim on behalf of beneficiaries on the goods and services produced by the working population. This claim will be enforced by the United States Government although the precise monetary mechanism of enforcement is yet to be determined.

If i read that right, it says it's a $2,6 trillion dollar obligation, or debt, that the government, and thus the people, owns to social security, or the people paying into social security, which is the people. The 3 options wikipedia has for repaying the funds are lending $2,6 trillion from somebody else, raise taxes, or have the fed inflate it away. Which sure sounds like (national) debt to me.

Officially, social security pays out more then it takes in in 2017. Then they'll need to draw some money out of it but the interest the bonds make will still be enough to cover costs until 2025. After that it'll be drawn upon until it is depleted around 2042.

So basically what will happen is a correction on the federal balance sheet that is unavoidable. $2,6 trillion dollars in debt that's currently off the books will be added to the national debt, and it'll yearly be added under "increased social security expenses". the "interest on the bonds" probably already is on the federal balance sheet, hidden in "interest on national debt". Starting 2025 (or much earlyer, those where pre-crisis projections) social security is pretty much going to be china saying "we won't lend you any more money, pay us back!".

Yknow, maybe that's why both republicans and democrats haven't made any hard proposals on how to reduce social security spending. It's because any proposal would come decades late - the money has already been spent. Current spending shouldn't be called "spending", it should be called, "paying back".

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