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.

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