In the end, the debate over aircraft carriers always boils down to cost; their acquisition costs are much higher than for any other single-item defense program, making them a natural target for criticism. Combined with a simplistic perception of vulnerability, high costs tend to cause critics to declare aircraft carriers unaffordable—but “compared to what?”
Tangredi, Sam J.
"Sizing the Carriers—A Brief History of Alternatives,"
Naval War College Review: Vol. 74:
4, Article 5.
Available at: https://digital-commons.usnwc.edu/nwc-review/vol74/iss4/5