Monday, June 23, 2008

Goverment still the problem ...

... for those who want to steal from the public coffers. Consider this post part 2 of this post.

From Free Lunch by David Cay Johnston

Despite all the deregulation rhetoric, government grows ever bigger. The number of federal government workers shrinks, but the ranks of people who are hired on contract at much greater cost increases. In 2000 workers hired on contract cost our federal government $207 billion. By 2006 this had swelled to $400 billion – rivaling the expense of either Social Security or interest on the federal government’s growing debt.

These contract workers typically cost twice as much as civil servants doing the same work, yet they are even less accountable. In Iraq we court-martial and imprison soldiers who under the stress of relentless urban combat kill innocents in a fit of anger of misjudgement. But the contract soldiers who fight alongside them, at two to ten times the pay, operate in a law-free zone, any killings they commit for foul reason unpunished and, some of our leaders assert, beyond the reach of any law.

At home, government and companies cooperate in withdrawing contracts and other documents from the public record. The profits generated by these companies are used, in part, to lobby for more contracts that drives up costs even further. Executives of these companies are also strategic donors to politicians, helping to ensure the continuing flow of tax dollars to their businesses. This is a benefit unavailable to even the most empire-building bureaucrat.
And now from Think Progress

Since 2002, the Army’s contracting budget has ballooned from $46 billion to $112 billion in 2007. However, as the AP reported last week, the number of investigators charged with hunting down fraudulent or wasteful contracts has stayed the same, at less than 100 agents.

Now the Army has proposed adding five active-duty generals who would oversee purchasing and monitor contractor performance — a move recommended by a blue-ribbon panel last fall. But the White House, through the Office of Management and Budget, “has shot down” the Army’s plan.
Think Progress continues on to point out that the oversight proposal that was rejected would have costed a 1.2 million and that at least 10 billion has been lost in Iraq since 2003. As TP puts it: "In other words, the White House opposes a contract oversight proposal that would cost a mere .012 percent of the $10 billion already lost to contract waste."

This might be legal, but if that ain't a crime I don't know what is.

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