Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

The Scale of the Cost of the Gulf/BP Cleanup

Latest observation:

Federal officials say cleaning up the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has already cost the government $87 million, making it the third-most expensive cleanup effort in the nation’s history.

For comparison:

Other skeptics inside the Pentagon note that the planes, designed 30 years ago to combat a Cold War adversary, have cost an average of $350 million apiece and say they are not a priority in the age of small wars and terrorist threats.

That’s for grins, right?  Because if anyone actually gave a shit about fiscal responsibility, this would be all over the front pages, no?


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  1. Silence Dogood

    I was all ready to come up in here and point out that at least most defense programs create highly-technical jobs which sustain the institutionalized knowledge-base for developing and deploying future defense systems (as well as developing engineering skills that find use in non-military applications). I was further going to point out that we at least get a tangible product out of that spending, whereas cleaning up oil is 100% sunk cost.

    But then I clicked through the link and saw that you were talking about the F-22 Raptor and realized the deck was stacked against me.

    In all seriousness, we learned a couple really important things from developing the F-22. In particular, the computer-assisted fly-by-wire avionics package significantly reduces the mental load on pilots, and learning how to make something like that is something that will benefit future aircraft designs. But yeah, the absolute failure of Lockheed Martin to admit that there are flaws with the program generally traps anyone who wants to defend one part of it into defending all of it at once. And that’s a fool’s errand.

  2. MB

    It was honestly meant just as a point of reference/comparison. The utter failure of the Raptor program (and the jillion policy/contracting lessons that can be drawn from that) is best left to another day. Or the next time I roll by the ads in the Pentagon Metro and get sent into another apoplectic fit over it.

  3. my understanding is that BP has already spent over $900M on the cleanup. not sure how that compares to the other disasters but I’m sure that’s hard to beat. I hope we never see anything like this ever again.


  4. MB

    That figure looks more like a projected total cost, from the article. And since they’re probably trying to manage their tumbling stock, I’m not sure I’d put that much stock in it.

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