Adjusting the Bottom Line

Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger was deep into a lengthy report before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the new Pentagon budget. He had just pointed out that the Department of Defense was the first to uncover such military expenditures as a $400 claw hammer and a $9,000 wrench when Maine's Republican Senator William Cohen said, "I'm fascinated to hear all this, but I'm told there's now a problem with a $600 toilet seat." This, Cohen deadpanned, "gives new meaning to the word throne."

The item in question was not precisely a toilet seat but a corrosion- resistan t plastic case that...

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