HIGHTOWER: Pentagon Hogs

Time for a Hightower Radio "Hog Report" and here they come, stampeding to the Pentagon's money trough.It's Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman and other giant military contractors who are products of recent corporate mergers, and who now expect us taxpayers to pay them for merging, even though their corporate restructurings have resulted in thousands of workers being handed pink slips. "Payoffs for Layoffs" that's what these Pentagon's merger-payments amount to, but believe it or not, the Congress is going along with this scam, authorizing the payments in the latest defense-spending bill.Last year, Lockheed merged with Martin-Marrietta to form Lockheed Martin. This giant new hog headed straight to the Pentagon trough, where it was promised A BILLION DOLLARS just for having merged. Not for building an airplane or a rocket just for merging -- an act that will cost 30,000 good workers their jobs.Norman Augustine, Lockheed's head honcho, says it's just a matter of "longstanding federal policy," nothing taxpayers should get in a snit about. What Norm didn't mention is that Lockheed lobbied hard to make this billion-dollar giveaway federal policy, having spent $3.4 million in lobbying fees just in the first half of this year, and having contributed hundreds-of-thousands of dollars to both parties to prime the pump. What Norm also didn't mention is that he, personally, will be pocketing about $8 million of the Pentagon's payoff as a little "bonus" for his efforts in the Lockheed merger.So once again, those at the top get a goldmine, while workers and taxpayers get the shaft.Rep. Christopher Smith, a Republican member of Congress says, "I believe it's corporate welfare at its worst."Me too. To stop this kind of gouging, contact the Campaign for New Priorities: 202/544-8222.

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