Murphy's Law: February 1, 2001

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Congress continually pressures the Pentagon to buy more C-130J transports to replace older C-130Hs, but the Pentagon (short of money) has resorted to an old trick. The planes are listed in the "unfunded priority" section of the new budget. Since Congress has (for the last several years) added money to the White House defense budget plan, the unfunded priority list let's Congress know where the uniformed military would like any extra money that turns up to go. Congress can then claim that it is answering a need rather than forcing the Pentagon to buy planes it doesn't want, and the Pentagon can claim that it is setting priorities and working with Congress to meet them. And, since everyone gets what they want, critics get a chance to decry the practice as a "good old boy network" scheme to spend money in key Congressional districts.--Stephen V Cole

 


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