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Some weekend reading

A few pieces over the weekend that are worth reading.

NYT op-ed columnist Frank Rich takes a swipe at competitive sourcing:

Mr. Safavian, a former lobbyist, had a hand in federal spending, first as chief of staff of the General Services Administration and then as the White House's chief procurement officer, overseeing a kitty of some $300 billion (plus $62 billion designated for Katrina relief). He arrived to help enforce a Bush management initiative called "competitive sourcing." Simply put, this was a plan to outsource as much of government as possible by forcing federal agencies to compete with private contractors and their K Street lobbyists for huge and lucrative assignments. The initiative's objective, as the C.E.O. administration officially put it, was to deliver "high-quality services to our citizens at the lowest cost."

The result was low-quality services at high cost: the creation of a shadow government of private companies rife with both incompetence and corruption. Last week Representative Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who commissioned the first comprehensive study of Bush administration contracting, revealed that the federal procurement spending supervised for a time by Mr. Safavian had increased by $175 billion between 2000 and 2005. (Halliburton contracts alone, unsurprisingly, went up more than 600 percent.) Nearly 40 cents of every dollar in federal discretionary spending now goes to private companies.

George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley in the LAT on the return of TIA:

'Big Brother' Bush and connecting the data dots [LAT, 6.24.2006]
The Total Information Awareness program was killed in 2003, but its spawn present bigger threats to privacy.

And WP tech columnist Rob Pegoraro on the missing personal data:

We've spent years trying to secure our computers against online identity theft, but the clumsiness or incompetence of Big Government and Big Companies is going to leave us unguarded anyway.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jun 26, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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