For the first time in a long time, the nation has a chief executive (to-be) actually wading into the subject of the military industrial complex. No one knows exactly who is whispering in Trump’s ear on this subject, but his theme is quite simple: he cares about how much things cost. This is bad news for the gang of cynical profiteers who’ve spent the last two decades laughing all the way to the bank … wondering how voters could be dumb enough to keep electing politicians who don’t even bother to hide their glee at pissing away trillions on needless wars and extravagant, overpriced weapons.
Here’s what Trump had to say about the F-35:
And here was the immediate impact on Lockheed’s share price:
The message is pretty clear: Trump is showing defense contractors that if they don’t start controlling costs, he’ll impose harshly unfavourable conditions on them, pit them against one another, and bring down so much shareholder pressure that they’ll be paralyzed by requests to explain themselves.
This is a good use of executive influence. He’s doing what the military service chiefs should have been doing all along. The F-35 program is an outrage. It’s years late, meaning the fleets it was supposed to replace are working overtime at escalating cost levels and increased risk. Now that it’s finally being delivered, it’s a technical mess, unable to do what was promised.
These factors underscore that the F-35 is an obviously poor investment. Only by the black magic of the military-industrial complex can the taxpayer be bound into a contract on this bad an investment for 25 years … despite Constitutional provisions to the contrary.
But Trump’s impact on the LMT share price underscores the obvious: the F-35 is grossly overpriced, and there are more affordable alternatives. Shareholders have sensed the jig is up, especially if we’re entering a season of even modestly accountable government. Trump has now shown he has the ability to manipulate the bottom line, and this has the best chance we’ve seen in countless years of bringing war profiteers to heel.
These two kids can do the rest of the talking … the sentience of a 10-year-old and 53 seconds are all we need to make this judgment.