The $1.45 Trillion Fighter Jet—and the Florida Deficit Hawks Who Love ItSubmitted by legalizeliberty on Wed, 05/23/2012 - 18:48
The F-35 fighter jet's first missile floated wide. The second found its target, and an explosion brought the bogey down. "Yes! Got him! Woo!" exclaimed the pilot, Jennifer Carroll, a 52-year-old former Navy officer and airplane mechanic.
But it's Carroll's current job—lieutenant governor of Florida—that explains why her simulator flight was being closely watched by about two dozen members of the Florida League of Defense Contractors at an industry gathering in Tallahassee on a drizzly morning in mid-February.
Next, with a technician from Lockheed Martin furiously pointing at indicators and whispering commands over her shoulder, Carroll nosed the simulator down to take on a ground target. "Three, two, one…blam!" she exclaimed, to laughter. "Osama, you're gone!" Virtual mission accomplished.
Carroll's real aim at the gathering was to affirm that she and her boss, Gov. Rick Scott, stood ready to wage battle alongside the assembled business owners, lobbyists, and retired military types to guarantee that Florida's economy will continue to benefit from a steady infusion of defense dollars; one study from 2010 pegged military spending in Florida at $30 billion.