All the other ways the Pentagon could have spent $3.3 billion
Washington lawmakers continue to play fast and loose with America's checkbook as they blow through billions on superfluous projects, a fiscal watchdog group claims. Citizens Against Government Waste this week published its latest "Pig Book Summary," an annual report that aims to document spending deemed to be a brazen misuse of federal funds.
Though Congress enacted a moratorium on so-called earmarks in 2011, lawmakers continue to find ways of funneling money toward pet projects, the non-profit claims. Pork-barrel spending topped $5.1 billion for FY2016, a more than 20 percent increase from the $4.2 billion buried in last year's budget. True to tradition, the Pentagon once again topped all other federal agencies.
The report identified what it says are at least $3.3 billion in earmarks sprinkled throughout this year's defense spending bill. They included $40 million for continued upgrades to the M1 Abrams tank, a project deemed so unnecessary by the Pentagon that senior military officials have repeatedly objected to it. Another $255 million went to a pair of F-35 fighter jets that are part of a program mired in delays and already $170 billon over budget. Congress also managed to earmark $125 million for an anti-drug initiative run by the National Guard, a program for which the Drug Enforcement Administration is already responsible.
Imagine what one could purchase with the taxpayer money burned on unwanted tanks, problem-plagued jets and the 65 other Pentagon pork-barrel projects pinpointed by the watchdog group. Vocativ already has. Here's what $3.3 billion in dubious defense spending buys.
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