Most of us want our tax dollars to be wisely used — especially around tax time.
You’ve probably heard a lot about corporations not paying taxes. Last year, individual Americans contributed six times more in income tax than corporations did.
But have you heard about how many of citizens’ tax dollars then end up in corporate pockets? It’s a lot — especially for corporations that contract with the Pentagon. They collect nearly half of all military spending.
The average U.S. taxpayer contributed about $2,000 to the military last year, according to a breakdown my colleagues and I prepared for the Institute for Policy Studies. More than $900 of that went to corporate military contractors.
In 2020, the largest Pentagon contractor, Lockheed Martin, took in $75 billion from taxpayers — and paid its CEO more than $23 million.
Unfortunately, this spending isn’t buying us a more secure world.
Last year, Congress added $25 billion the Pentagon didn’t ask for to its already gargantuan budget. Lawmakers even refused to let military leaders retire weapons systems they couldn’t use anymore. The extra money favored top military contractors that gave campaign money to a group of lawmakers, who refused to comment on it.
Then there’s simple price-gouging.
There’s the infamous case of TransDigm, a Pentagon contractor that charged the government $4,361 for a metal pin that should’ve cost $46 — and then refused to share cost data. Congress recently asked TransDigm to repay some of its misbegotten profits, but the Pentagon hasn’t cut off its business.
Somewhere between price-gouging and incompetence lies the F-35 jet fighter, an embarrassment the late Sen. John McCain, a Pentagon booster, called “a scandal and a tragedy.”