Thursday, September 28, 2006

Why Is a Fighter Pilot Like a Farmer?

This piece in the Times on how the fighter community beat Rummy to get more F-22's (at $350mill a crack) prompts me to compare pilots and farmers:
  • Both are robed in the rags of former romantic glory: fighter pilots as the gallant solo aces of one on one combat; farmers as the gallant son of the soil fighting nature.
  • Both have strong, bipartisan lobbies on the Hill
  • Both get taxpayer money for programs of dubious value (a jet designed to outclass the Soviet jets; direct subsidy programs that do little for conservation or production adjustment)
  • Both are wedded to past methods that are fast losing potency (I predict the manned fighter jet will be successfully challenged by pilotless drones; individual farmers are being replaced by contract farmers (as in poultry and hogs).

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