Everyone who watched The West Wing on Wednesday got a lesson on why the Pentagon really does have to pay an absurd amount for many trivial seeming objects, but the truth is, of course, much more complex than that. The Project for Government Oversight has a chart listing some absurd prices that the government pays for various spare parts. And lest you think that this is just because the government has unusual requirements, the year to year increase on pricing for those parts is included as well. For example, how does a linear microcircuit that cost 11 cents in 1997 go for the handsome price of $5,788.76 in 1998?