Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Friday, June 29, 2007

Shadow goverment of private contractors

I consider this to be one of the biggest threats to our government (along with the attacks on our Constitution and of course the threat that Cheney will drop a bomb on Iran,) so am posting content that is almost entirely from Think Progress - you can go over there and read their terrific investigative work, or get the overall gist of it right here; but its their work... I'm just a 'repeater' here, because I want this to get around.

As blogged by Think Progress, a new report by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform concludes that a “shadow government of contractors working under the Bush federal government has grown secretly in our government like a cancer.

Between 2000 and 2005 (Bushie heyday,) procurement spending increased by over $175 billion dollars, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending.” That may be even higher than the handouts to faith based organizations.

It comes down to this: corporate contractors like Halliburton and AshBritt have been raking in the profits while “billions of dollars of taxpayer money have been squandered.” And of course, Iraq is in ruins... so its not like they've been doing a lot of rebuilding.

Some highlights from the report, as listed by Think Progress:

  1. Halliburton: “fastest growing contractor.” Under the Bush administration, federal spending to Halliburton “increased over 600% between 2000 and 2005.” The Government Accountability Office recently found that the government has wasted at least $2.7 billion to Halliburton on “overpriced contracts or undocumented costs.” At the end of 2005, Cheney’s stock options were valued at more than $8 million, a 3,281 percent gain from 2004.
  2. Growth in federal contracting exceeds inflation rate. In 2000, the value of federal contracts totaled $203 billion. By 2005, the value was $377.5 billion, an 86 percent increase. The new report notes that this “growth in contracting was over five times faster than the overall inflation rate and almost twice as fast as the growth in other discretionary federal spending over this period.” A record level of “nearly 40 cents of every discretionary federal dollar now goes to private contractors.”
  3. Noncompetitive contracts skyrocket. Sole-source and noncompetitive contracts grew by “an even faster rate than overall procurement spending, rising by 115% from $67.5 billion in 2000 to $145 billion in 2005.” Many of these no-bid contracts during the Iraq war and Katrina reconstruction went to Bush administration cronies who wasted money and performed shoddy work.

Of the 500 contracts that were actually reviewed, 118 contracts - $745.5 billion - “experienced significant overcharges, wasteful spending, or mismanagement over the last five years.” A report by American Progress Senior Fellow Scott Lilly has some advice for Congress on what they can do to clean up the mess, should they have any real interest in doing so. I wish I had more faith that they weren't also somehow 'in' on this.

Video of Henry Waxman (D-CA) discussing the new report.

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