Who could forget it? There were the $37 screws (no need to say who was getting screwed), the $2,043 nut (McDonnell Douglas made it specially for the U.S. Navy), the $7,622 coffee pot, the $74,165 aluminum ladder, and the $640 plastic toilet seats for the Air Force. All of those examples of Pentagon waste were from ancient times, the 1970s and 1980s when such revelations still generated literally hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. These days, in the age of America’s never-ending credit-card wars and a Pentagon budget eternally going through the roof, stories of that sort are surprisingly rare. It’s as if that budget and the waste that goes with it has, by now, become such a strikingly bipartisan Washington phenomenon that the details hardly matter. Who’s going to be shocked? Who’s going to complain? Who would possibly contest anything the Pentagon did or spent for American “safety” and “security”?
So I recently felt a wave of almost Trumpian nostalgia for those long-gone days of American “greatness,” or at least well-publicized great wastefulness, when I stumbled across an obscure piece about the $10,000 toilet seats the Air Force is presently buying for its Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport planes. Admit it: even taking inflation into account, that’s impressive! That’s waste on a scale that should make any American proud! Now, imagine that, as TomDispatch regular William Hartung points out today, when it comes to government investment in the American economy and our disintegrating infrastructure, there really is nothing much left but the Pentagon and its $10,000 toilet seats. It should make your heart beat faster to know that if anything is going to lift the economy long term, it’s going to be Pentagon spending. If that isn’t MAGA, what is?