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Reason Foundation

Bush admin's half-assed approach to privatization

Adrian Moore
October 28, 2008, 1:10pm

Once again this administration, particularly DoD, is blowing it on their use of privatizaiton. GovExec reports
The Defense Department has not taken steps to prevent companies whose Iraq reconstruction contracts were terminated for poor performance from receiving additional government work, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction reported on Monday. In several cases, poor performing contractors were awarded additional contracts. In two cases, contractors suspended for fraud and other criminal violations received new construction contracts after being placed on the Excluded Parties List System
Read the whole ugly thing here. It is fundamental that if you are going to contract out services, you have to be a good shopper. If the government pays good money for lousy service, what is the advantage, except to the balance sheet of the contractor? This kind of stupidity undermines the effective use of privatization that is going on elsewhere--yes, even sometimes at DoD. These kind of problems are a small percentage of all federal competitive sourcing, but it only takes a few to arm the critics with legitimate beefs against the overall use of the private sector. In the long run this will errode our ability to use privatization to improve services, save money, and focus the government on stuff only government can do. Accountability and perfomance HAVE to be the centerpiece of all government outsourcing. When it is not, you get this kind of waste of taxpayer money.

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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