Remarks From Remarksman

May 23, 2008

Billions of Dollars Wasted

Filed under: Uncategorized — BrianB @ 6:15 pm
Tags: , , , ,

A new report from the Pentagon’s Office of Inspector General reviewed payments made by the Pentagon to contractors in Iraq, Kuwait, and Egypt totaling approximately $8.2 billion and found that the Pentagon cannot properly account for how $7.8 billion of it was spent. That’s 95% unaccountable. More from MoJoBlog.

And it’s not just the Pentagon that is filling the pockets of contractors. USAID can’t take the trouble to manage things at a small, local, scale, so they hand hundreds of millions over to big contractors, who skim off a bunch while sub-contracting the job. Those contractors skim off more, and finally the people who actually do the work receive very little money. The schools and hospitals which are actually built (many seem to be paid for but never completed) end up being shoddily constructed. The local workers are poorly paid, and only a fraction of the money ends up in the local economy of the region supposedly being helped. More from the BBC.

Why does so much tax-payer money go to contractors? Corporations fund a large portion of the election campaigns of Congressmen and Presidents, and state-level offices as well. And, of course, there is “lobbying.” Once those candidates are in office, they control spending policy and may also appoint department heads. Corporate interests become a priority for the whole bureaucracy, and siphoning off as many tax dollars as they can is a priority for corporations. Change Congress is one organization trying to change this.

For a longer look at this issue, this article from Le Monde diplomatique on AlterNet is interesting.

On a separate but related note, Keith Olbermann has some comments for President Bush about his “sacrifice” of giving up (mostly) golf.


1 Comment »

  1. I came across your blog on Technorati. Nice site layout. I will stop by and read more soon.

    Mike Harmon

    Comment by Mike Harmon — May 23, 2008 @ 6:26 pm | Reply

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