HIGHTOWER: Pentagon Contractors

Look out, the Hogs are loose again! Time for Hightower Radio's Hog Report.Here they come! General Dynamics, Hughes Aircraft, GE and practically every other major Pentagon contractor, rushing with their army of lawyers at the IRS, demanding billions of dollars in tax refunds from Uncle Sugar. These giants have sniffed-out an old piece of legislation passed in the 1980's to give a tax credit to companies that increase their research spending. These tax breaks were intended to be an extra incentive for firms to conduct product-development research that would make America more competitive in the world market.Before you can say "Boondoggle," though, the Pentagon hogs thought, "Hey, we could take a bite of this. Didn't we do a bunch of research in the '80s to develop Star Wars, the B-2 Bomber and other useless weapons? So why shouldn't we get a tax refund on the hundreds-of-billions-of-dollars we spent on that research?"Here's why they shouldn't get it: They did not pay for that research -- you and I did! Remember the Reagan military build-up, when "The Gipper" lost his grip and shoveled a TRILLION of our tax dollars into weapons research? These are the very outfits that got that trillion dollars. Never mind that they delivered junk -- cost overruns, planes that don't fly, $1,600 toilet seats and so forth. Now they have the gold-plated audacity to ask us for a tax refund on research that we paid-for in the first place. It's no small hand-out they want us to give them either--at least a couple of billion bucks.Still these hogs have no shame, claiming that, technically, they are entitled to it. As a spokesman for Hughes Aircraft asked: "Are people going to be unhappy because [we] prospered during the Reagan defense buildup and now are getting a refund?"Altogether now: "Yes!"This is yet another example of corporate welfare that's draining our country dry.

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