The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Pentagon pleases its suppliers

Apr 2, 2001

The annual audit of the Pentagon's purchasing system is complete. It shows what audits have been showing since they began: the military pays ten times what anyone else would pay simply going to the hardware store. Last year it was the $76 screw; this year it was the $409 sink (worth $39).

The report implied that contractors know how to "cheat the system." That's the understatement of the year! The report mentions that about nine% of the automated purchases it checked were probably fraudulent.

An automated purchasing system is programmed by human beings. Computers don't think, they follow instructions. So if the purchasing system couldn't buy at the same price we get when we go to the hardware store, then its users planned it that way.

Our tax money is thrown away in this fashion because it is good for the profits of the biggest corporations in the country. Hardly a corporation among the top 500 goes without military contracts.

Decades ago a senator made the point that big business has every reason to look upon the U.S. government's military budget as a permanent subsidy. And every winter the Pentagon follies prove him right.