Remember the $400 hammer and the $600 toilet seat? Those Pentagon procurement follies were meant to signify the bloat inherent in the Reagan-era defense buildup — and to imply, by extension, that the Gipper’s increased spending on national defense was itself a colossal waste.
As it turned out, the stories were urban legends. The Pentagon never spent $400 for a hammer, and the toilet seat wasn’t any ordinary toilet seat. It was a molded plastic shroud specifically designed to fit the P-3C Orion anti-submarine aircraft — not exactly the sort of thing you can pick up at the local big-box hardware store. All told, the 54 shrouds cost the Pentagon $34,560.