HIGHTOWER: The Pentagon's Tax Bite

Well, I paid my taxes. The IRS said I owed them $1,800 ... so I sent them a toilet seat and a hammer.It's not talked about much by politicians and the Establishment media, but at least six-out-of-every-ten dollars that we sent to Uncle Sam on April 15 will go to the Pentagon and its military contractors -- $280 billion a year goes to this military establishment, not counting billions more it gets indirectly through the budgets of NASA, State Department and others.Congress and the White House literally throw our money at this military-industrial complex, even though it is the most bloated, fraud-ridden bureaucracy in the whole federal government.Remember those $1,200 toilet seats, $600 hammers and other rip-offs the Pentagon was buying from its pampered contractors in the 1980s? Well, don't look now, but ... they're baaaack. In fact, they never went away -- it's just that the media quit reporting these scams. Maybe that's because much of the media is now owned by -- believe it or not -- Pentagon contractors. For example, GE and Westinghouse, two of the biggest recipients of Pentagon money, own NBC and CBS.Neither network covered the recent spare-parts flim-flam pulled-off by Pioneer UAV., which built the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle used in the Bosnian conflict. Pioneer has perfected the art of overbilling us taxpayers on spare parts. Some examples:* Pioneer charged us $127 for a washer that you can get from an engineering firm for about 10 bucks;* The company sold the pentagon some spark-plug connectors worth 12 bucks each for $544 a piece;* Pioneer charged $856 to estimate repair charges on a gas system, while another company actually repairs such systems for only $775.When you wonder why your federal taxes are so high ... Think Pentagon fraud.Source:"Spare parts horror stories, Part II" by Marcus Corbin. Project on Government Oversight Press Release. April 14, 1997.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Thanks for your support!

Did you enjoy AlterNet this year? Join us! We're offering AlterNet ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. From now until March 15th.