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The Pentagon’s Bottomless Money Pit
When the Defense Department flunked its first-ever fiscal review, one of our government’s greatest mysteries was exposed: Where does the DoD’s $700 billion annual budget go?

MARCH 17, 2019 8:00PM ET

If and when the defense review is ever completed, we’re likely to find a pile of Enrons, with the military’s losses and liabilities hidden in Enron-like special-purpose vehicles, assets systematically overvalued, monies Congress approved for X feloniously diverted to Program Y, contractors paid twice, parts bought twice, repairs done unnecessarily and at great expense, and so on.

Enron at its core was an accounting maze that systematically hid losses and overstated gains in order to keep investor money flowing in. The Pentagon is an exponentially larger financial bureaucracy whose mark is the taxpayer. Of course, less overtly a criminal scheme, the military still churns out Enron-size losses regularly, and this is only possible because its accounting is a long-tolerated fraud.

And here is the wrap up in the last 3 paragraphs:

Just over 50 years ago, Dwight Eisenhower gave his famous farewell address warning of the power of the “military-industrial complex.” The former war commander bemoaned the creation of a “permanent armaments industry of vast proportions,” and said the “potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

Eisenhower’s warning is celebrated by the left as a caution against the overweening political power of warmakers, but as we’re now seeing, it was predictive also as a fiscal conservative’s nightmare vision of the future. The military has become an unstoppable mechanism for hoovering up taxpayer dollars and deploying them in the most inefficient manner possible. Schools crumble, hospitals and obstetric centers close all over the country, but the armed services are filling warehouses for some programs with “1,000 years’ worth of inventory,” as one Navy logistics officer recently put it.

It’s the ultimate example of the immutability of the American political system. Even when there’s broad bipartisan consensus, and laws passed, and both money allocated for changes and agencies created to enact them — if the problem is big enough, time bends toward corruption, and chaos always outlasts reform. Eisenhower couldn’t have predicted how right he was.
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