Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013.


The Glorious Private Sector Screws Up Again

Obama Administration

More on the crashing federal ACA site — see The real story with Obamacare IT woes is out-of-control private contractors.

Of course, the Obama administration is to blame for the botched rollout, but there are other culprits getting less attention – namely, global tech conglomerate CGI, which was responsible for the bulk of the execution, and in general the ability of big corporations to get massive taxpayer-funded contracts without enough accountability.

Government outsourcing to private contractors has exploded in the past few decades. Taxpayers funnel hundreds of billions of dollars a year into the chosen companies’ pockets, about $80bn of which goes to tech companies. We’ve reached a stage of knee-jerk outsourcing of everything from intelligence and military work to burger flipping in federal building cafeterias, and it’s damaging in multiple levels. …

…To this end the Healthcare.gov experience should serve as a wake-up call to President Obama, who, after all, said early in his first term he wanted to rein in the contractor-industrial complex, and to the state governments doling out multi-million dollar contracts. The revelation here is that an overdependence on outsourcing isn’t just risky in terms of national security, extortionate at wartime, or harmful because it expands the ranks of low-wage workers; it’s also messing with our ability to carry out basic government functions at a reasonable cost.

I still say the Iraq War was mostly a money-laundering scheme. And I don’t think we’ve even begun to look at the money allocated for Hurricane Katrina repairs, and track how many pennies on the taxpayer dollar might have trickled down to the neighborhoods that needed repairing.

And one more time, anyone who believes that the private sector is always efficient and competent never saw corporations from the perspective of someone working in the production or engineering departments. Most of the time, the challenge isn’t doing the best job you can; it’s doing the job at all when upper management belongs in a clown car.

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