Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's about the money

After reading the newspapers Friday I updated my waterfall map Web page for Mt. Rainier NP. This includes all the waterfalls listed in books and Websites that all but the most diehard off-trail scrambler would want to hike to and see that is known. There are still a lot of small waterfalls, all unnamed, which people will find on their hikes in the NP. And I still have to review the sites with the latest map along with updating the list of sites Web page.

Anyway, the news and the subject?

Did you know that all of the military equipment contracts are overdue and over budget? Like that's news?

That's the word from the GAO when reviewing the Department of Defense spending. The contractors know it's about getting the contract and just show progress for the development of it toward actual production. The average delivery date is 20+ months from the contracted date, and the average cost overrun is 25-50% when the actual production product is delivered.

This doesn't include the additonal production costs which raises the purchase price. Here the same thing applies, get to the production version where you can simply raise the price to overcome any production delays or fixes. None of the contractors delivered a product on time and on budget. And this was shown in the Navy's new warship.

The two prototypes contracted for with Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics are both late and over budget, some of the problems related to the designers/developers decisions than the contract. And we're still paying for it. The goal is to test the two and pick one for the Navy's shallow water attack ship. They plan to buy 55 of these ships. That will be at least $30 Billion when production actually starts.

So why hasn't Congress fixed this ripoff of taxpayers money?

The same thing has been applied to the contrators working in Iraq. None of the equipment contracts are on time or budget and all of the service contracts allows adding costs to recover additional expenses due to unforseen circumstances. In short, the same thing, once they get the contract, and remember almost all are no-bid contracts, they're handed a checkbook of blank signed checks and told to fill in the amount as they go.

And add to that they haven't filed let alone paid corporate taxes on any of these contracts means it's all actual expenses and profit. They bid in taxes and then pocket it, even when it's still due. A GAO review found the DOD and IRS never pursued the these companies to pay back taxes since the start of the war.

And it's not limited to the money we're giving the Iraqi government. To date we've given $20 Billion to them just for training and equipping their army, security forces and police. In the newest funding request Bush is asking for $108 Billion for all costs with $1B for Iraqi forces.

And the reviews of the Iraqi troops of any type shows they're years away from any level of readiness that will allow them to conduct their own missions. This isn't consistent and overall but more worse than better. They also seem to think with the never ending credit card they can keep charging and we, the taxpayers, will keep paying. Meanwhile they're getting rich from oil production, enought to buy nearly $1 Billion in arms from Serbia.

So, the moral of the story. It's the old adage, "It's all about the money."

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