The 4th branch of our Federal Government: Contractors
The federal government has outsourced more and more of its duties. By doing this, they can claim they have lowered their workforce, thus saving us millions of bucks in benefits that would have to be paid to these employees if they were on the federal government payroll, among other things.
What also happens is that oversight, transparency and auditing of the work is lost. The government just writes checks out to companies like Halliburton, CACI, KBR, Blackwater and a host of other corporations figuring the job is being done correctly and it saves us all lots of money in the long run.
Wrong, carpetbagger breath. The billions paid to companies like I have named above is many times just wasted. Since the federal government no longer has their finger in a specific pie, they also give these companies carte blanche to charge us whatever they want, and workmanship is a dirty little word to these corporations..they just want their check. They create their own work standards without any oversight by the federal government, who is now relegated to just being a “customer”. The contractor can now sub-contract part, if not the entire job, to another contractor with little or no oversight by the federal government or the original company who was given the contract. Where do you think their loyalties lie? The following is a quote from David M. Walker, who as comptroller general of the United States, said this about contractors and their loyalty: “There’s something civil servants have that the private sector doesn’t, and that is the duty of loyalty to the greater good — the duty of loyalty to the collective best interest of all rather than the interest of a few. Companies have duties of loyalty to their shareholders, not to the country.”
What is the biggest and scariest part of this whole “contract out the government” scheme is, as the NYT writes, these contractors have slowly become the 4th branch of our federal government.
Besides the obvious Iraq Reconstruction carpetbaggers, we have contractors who collect our income taxes and work up agency budgets, operate unmanned spy aircraft and act as secretary’s taking the minutes at policy meetings on the war in Iraq. They sit next to federal employees at nearly every agency; more people work under contracts in our federal government than are directly employed by our federal government.. Let me type that again for you: More people work under contracts in our federal government than are directly employed by our federal government. One that makes me howl in amazement is the government’s online database for tracking contracts, the Federal Procurement Data System, has been outsourced. We have outsourced the checks and balances on our outsourcing. Ain’t that a friggin’ hoot my dear reader?
Not really. It’s pathetic and its fuckwitted.
To cull some of the key information that has been unearthed about our outsourcing, here are some of the highlights, which come from the NYT article mentioned above:
¶Competition, intended to produce savings, appears to have sharply eroded. An analysis by The New York Times shows that fewer than half of all “contract actions” — new contracts and payments against existing contracts — are now subject to full and open competition. Just 48 percent were competitive in 2005, down from 79 percent in 2001.
¶The most secret and politically delicate government jobs, like intelligence collection and budget preparation, are increasingly contracted out, despite regulations forbidding the outsourcing of “inherently governmental” work. Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a watchdog group, said allowing CACI workers to review other contractors captured in microcosm “a government that’s run by corporations.”
¶Agencies are crippled in their ability to seek low prices, supervise contractors and intervene when work goes off course because the number of government workers overseeing contracts has remained level as spending has shot up. One federal contractor explained candidly in a conference call with industry analysts last May that “one of the side benefits of the contracting officers being so overwhelmed” was that existing contracts were extended rather than put up for new competitive bidding.
¶The most successful contractors are not necessarily those doing the best work, but those who have mastered the special skill of selling to Uncle Sam. The top 20 service contractors have spent nearly $300 million since 2000 on lobbying and have donated $23 million to political campaigns. “We’ve created huge behemoths that are doing 90 or 95 percent of their business with the government,” said Peter W. Singer, who wrote a book on military outsourcing. “They’re not really companies, they’re quasi agencies.” Indeed, the biggest federal contractor, Lockheed Martin, which has spent $53 million on lobbying and $6 million on donations since 2000, gets more federal money each year than the Departments of Justice or Energy.
¶Contracting almost always leads to less public scrutiny, as government programs are hidden behind closed corporate doors. Companies, unlike agencies, are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Members of Congress have sought unsuccessfully for two years to get the Army to explain the contracts for Blackwater USA security officers in Iraq, which involved several costly layers of subcontractors.
Now, after reading that laundry list of crap..do you feel safer? Do you feel your tax money is being spent correctly? And lastly, do you feel this type of bullshit is in our best interests? Because I do not my dear reader, not for the one stinking second that it took for me to write this sentence.
Our pitbull in the Senate, Henry Waxman is trying very hard to warn us about the inherent problems associated with outsourcing the bulk of the duties our federal government is supposed to perform. He is holding hearings this week on the carpetbaggers that are known by the name of “contractors” in Iraq. You can watch or listen online. I watch CSPAN or listen to it in the background all day. I am tired of the spin we put up with from our current administration, our elected representatives and from the MSM. I can formulate my own opinions based on what is actually said..not on what the MSM writes up the following day. I think the problems we face as a nation are far too important to be left to the MSM, to let them provide me with their daily take on what was said or done in our name. When a good in-depth report comes out, like the one the NYT is doing now on contractors, I think it’s worth telling people about. I hope I can pique your interest enough to get you to read it..even if its long and in four parts. I hope that you will get pissed off enough to do something about it..even if that means all you do is call your elected rep’s or write them a long nasty diatribe, blog about it on your own or tell others what is being done in our name. If we do any or all of those things..perhaps we will see real change. If we don’t..We will get the idiots and disloyal fuckwits we deserve running our Federal Government. That is tantamount to the fox guarding the henhouse my dear reader..but you know that, don’t you?