HIGHTOWER: Pentagon Collector

Do you know anyone who is a chronic collector? Maybe it's your old Aunt Emma who finally had to have an extra room built on the house to hold her ever-growing collection of salt & pepper shakers, or that worthless brother-in-law of yours who still has the erecter set he got in 1950, his original Mickey Mouse Club certificate and the fuzzy dice he hung from the mirror of his '57 Chevy.Or maybe it's the Pentagon.According to Taxpayers for Common $ense, America's military brass collects tons of supplies that it doesn't need and will never use: some $37-billion-worth of pump motors, antennas, clutch assemblies and other stuff with which it is massively overstocked. Indeed more than half of the military's total inventory of parts and weapons is simply unneeded. Thirty-seven BILLION DOLLARS worth. Setting there. Never to be used.The General Accounting Office uncovered this wealth of waste in 1993, but the Pentagon promised that it was making progress in reducing the excess. However, a 1996 update finds that the Blob has not been reduced -- it has grown . . . by nearly a billion dollars more!How much useless stuff has the Pentagon squirreled away? Enough to fill 130 million cubic feet of space in 205 different warehouses around the country. They have a 100-year supply of many items -- including items that are already obsolete. And, to stack ignorance on top of ignorance, some of these obsolete, overstocked items are still being purchased by the military.Meantime, Congress says it must cut more from food stamps, job training, Medicare and even Social Security to help reduce the federal budget deficit. But before they whack the things that the middle class and the poor need, shouldn't Congress whack the $37-Billion-worth of stuff the Pentagon doesn't need?To get more information, contact Senator Tom Harkin's office: 202-224-3254.For more information:Sen. Tom Harkin's office: 202-224-3254Source:"Defense department saves waste, wastes money." The Waste Basket bulletin: Taxpayers for Common Sense: October 9, 1996.

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