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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Spending other people’s money

The government needs to check its spendthrift habits if it is truly serious about reducing an ever-burgeoning budget deficit. I guess it’s just too easy to throw money around when it really isn’t yours and when there doesn’t seem to be any accountability as to how it’s spent. Nevermind the astromonical costs of the war, the laggard economy, the rollback on estate taxes to the rich. We still have the costs of Katrina and Rita to deal with, which are being exacerbated by the government’s penchant for awarding non-bid contracts (and we’re not even talking Halliburton here).

MSNBC reports on one instance where the government provided a contract for mobile classrooms in Pass Christian, Mississippi to an Alaskan company to the tune of $88,000 per trailer. This makes no economic sense when there was an in-state contractor ready to supply the same mobiles for $30,000 less, a contractor who had supplied mobiles to the state for the last twenty years. Conversely, the Alaskan contractor that received the $40 million no-bid contract has no experience with this type of work.

The government’s defense is that the Alaskan company could expedite the trailers faster. Anyone remember the adage that haste makes waste? Well, at nearly twice the cost, this is an example of an indefensible waste of money, especially where that money could have been diverted to more immediate needs of those devastated by the storms.

Recently, FEMA was taken to task for its imprudent decision to pay Carnival Cruise Lines $236 million to house Katrina victims for six months. Yes, the victims needed shelter, but at $1,275 a week per person, the costs are unjustified.

Also, because FEMA found itself without contracts for basic relief items, it is paying out an average of $2,500 just to have blue tarp nailed to missing roofs in the Gulf Coast. As one of the contractors noted, a whole roof could be shingled for that amount of money.

If the government continues passing out these exhorbitant no-bid contracts, the taxpayers will be footing the bill for years to come. And that is before the Halliburton’s no-bid Katrina contracts are factored in.

Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 10/06/2005 10:24:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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