Letter: Make set-asides fair for everyone

A reader writes, "If we continue to have set-aside programs based on race, unemployment stats, previous roles in life, then I am all for a gender-based preference as well."

Regarding "Bill would kill rule on women-owned business": It is high time all targeted socioeconomic programs come under scrutiny. It would be most helpful first, however, if the data on which these programs get scrutinized are reviewed for accuracy.

The procurement data is often wrong because, as with any computer-based or Web-based system, the human operator is fallible and does indeed put garbage into the system. Then the Small Business Administration pays (how much?) to Rand to "study" the 2004-2005 (old) data, throwing good money after bad. They make a recommendation which causes "outrage" by certain Congressfolk. They try to kill the bill.

Stop wasting my money!

Here are the list of current set-asides:

Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, 8(a), Historically Underutilized Business Zone, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, Veteran-Owned Small Business, and finally, but not really, Woman-Owned Business. I say this because there is no set-aside or contractual preference for woman-owned businesses, only the appearance of a set-aside strategically veiled (most recently by President Bill Clinton via executive order) as a preference. But it is really only a "goal" that cannot be met without the authority to set aside for such businesses.

I am of the opinion that, in America, the free enterprise system should prevail. If you can compete and win a source selection, based on the criteria established at the best value to the taxpayer, then you should win the contract award. I don't care what color you are, where you live or what you did before you started your business. I care, as a taxpayer, only that you are the most qualified to meet the requirement at the best value to me.

However, if we continue to have set-aside programs based on race, unemployment stats, previous roles in life, then I am all for a gender-based preference as well. And while the 8a, SDB, SDVOSB, HUBZone preferences are not limited as to NAICS code, then why discriminate against the women, who, as a class of business owners, are indeed a minority concern worthy of the same protections as races that have been discriminated against historically?

Either wipe out the set-asides entirely or make them fair and equally applicable to each socioeconomic category in every NAICS code.

While I realize the political appointees at SBA might have to be appointed elsewhere, I don't think they would be missed by (m)any, either in or outside the government.

Anonymous


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