With much of the government inoperable amid a deep partisan divide in Congress, it's interesting to note that members of the opposing parties still can cooperate in wasting money.

As first reported by the Dayton Daily News, the Air Force has continued to order and buy medium-lift C-27J cargo planes at $53.3 million each, with no plans to actually use them.

Once each aircraft arrives at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, it is shipped to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, to be mothballed in the desert with billions of dollars' worth of other aircraft - most of which at least had some service life.

The C-27J twin-propeller planes are manufactured by Rome, Italy-based Alenia Aermacchi, under a contract with the Air Force that originally was valued at about $2 billion, but was scaled back to the 21 planes that were under production when budget cuts ended their proposed mission. The aircraft were derived from an older Italian design with modern upgrades based on Lockheed-Martin's workhorse C-130 cargo planes.

Despite the Air Force's doubts, Ohio's two senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, fought to preserve the program because the planes were proposed for an Ohio Air National Guard mission that employed about 800 people.

When the contrived stalemate in Washington ends, Congress should get to work on legitimate business. A place to start saving money is to allow military professionals determine what they need to fulfill actual missions, rather than to continue basing military procurement on parochial political needs.