The Defense Economy

Archive Report

Budget Under Fire

Contractor Scandals Undermine Support

As members of Congress look for spending programs to cut or eliminate, their attention is being drawn to the Defense Department, which has been spared the budget ax as no other federal agency since Ronald Reagan became president in 1981. Congress quickly embraced Reagan's call to build up the country's defenses and until now has voted most of the military funds he has requested, resulting in military appropriations exceeding $1 trillion. Since 1980, defense outlays have nearly doubled, enlarging the yearly federal budget deficits despite repeated cuts in domestic spending programs.1

But this year defense spending has come increasingly under scrutiny and attack. Congressional investigators have turned up “horror stories” of grossly inflated prices charged by defense contractors—of $430 hammers, ...

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