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Feb 25, 2010



The Barrett company has introduced 3 new sniper weapons to the US Army. The Model M82 and M107 .50 caliber sniper rifles have been used to good effect protecting our soldiers since Desert Storm, and they recently came up with a model 98B in the .338 caliber. They have developed all of these weapons on their own, using their own funds. These weapons have revolutionized the capabilities of the sniper, giving them the capability to not only take out human enemies at mile and a half ranges, but also to take out enemy missiles, armored personnel carriers, trucks, and even aircraft. All this innovation cost you, the US taxpayer, nothing to develop.

At the same time, development of the standard infantry rifle in the US Army has been stagnant since the beginning of the Vietnam war. The M-16 rifle that was inadequate then is even less reliable for the desert environment of Iraq and lacks the long range punch required in Afghanistan. Ironically, you, the US taxpayer, have flushed billions of dollars down the toilet in the attempt to improve that basic infantry rifle. The problem? Once the big military contractors realized there was profit to be made off of development of a new infantry rifle, there was no incentive to actually "produce" a new weapon. In fact, the willingness of the Army to try to upgrade the M-16 made it unlikely that these contractors would ever let an improved rifle take its place. After all, do you think they are so stupid that they'd kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

So here is another clear example of how taxpayer funded development gets the exact opposite result of what was intended. Taxpayer funded development is the death of innovation. Privately funded development is the life blood of innovation. We see it all the time, but that never keeps our politicians from promising us more and more of these public funded atrocities. When are we going to care enough about our soldiers and our country to stop paying for weapons development? When are we going to care enough to let capitalism work for us instead of against us?

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