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April 14, 2003

Privatization of the Military

In a proposal for "reorganization" Rumsfeld is seeking to move 300,000 military jobs into the civilian sector and no doubt contracting them out to Bush's corporate allies.

This is all part of an agenda that been encouraging public dollars to push down wages across military-related industries. Just check out this speech by the head of Boeing on ongoing outsourcing there:

A good example of this was the outsourcing of dining room and food services. In our industry, we were paying aerospace-type wages and benefits to obtain food services, when the food-service industry offered them at a much reduced cost!
But just to really scare you, it's worth remembering who is in charge of privatization at the US Army-- none other than former Enron official Thomas White. White has already proposed contracting out 214,000 jobs currently on the government payroll. Just last December, 68 members of the House of Representatives blasted the plan in a letter to White.

Aside from the attack on labor involved in these initiatives, the inherent corruption of massive campaign contributors vying for multi-billion dollar contracts is already obvious in Iraq. But it's worth noting that Army Secretary White had been pushing privatization of military energy facilities when he was at Enron, and then just gaily continued to do so to the benefit of his old company even as he assumed his position heading the Army. Not even a nod to conflicts of interests involved in this selloff to Enron and the other range of companies that were even then ripping off consumers in California.

And the idea that privatization even saves the public money is undermined from evidence across the country. With corrupt deals and the padded salaries of top management, privatization often just lowers wages to the benefit of private industry, not the taxpayer.

Check out these Myths of Privatization or if you have doubts about the Bush administration's real commitment to the taxpayer, read this article about the national challenge to privatization by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) who are sponsoring legislation that only corporate whores would oppose (which means that the Bush administration is opposed). What would their legislation require?:

Key elements include:

requiring agencies to track the cost and size of the contractor workforce (today no one knows how many contractors work for the government or what they are paid);
requiring public-private competition (if government employees can do it better for less, let government workers do it);
eliminating arbitrary personnel ceilings (when personnel ceilings are too low, managers contract out to get the work done); and
requiring contracting-in (when contractors fail, bring the work back in-house).

Basically, the legislation says- Keep track of how many jobs you are contracting out, see if you are saving money, and if you are not, bring the jobs back into the public sector.

But this is about privatization as ideology, damn the facts. They don't want to track information that might prove their ideology wrong, so they want privatization in a fact-free zone.

Posted by Nathan at April 14, 2003 07:11 AM

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The subtext running behind everything Bush & Co does: Let's line our pockets, or those of our close friends, or, preferably, both.

It's disgusting. And it's not conservative in the slightest. I cannot imagine Barry Goldwater doing this.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan at April 14, 2003 09:15 AM

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Posted by: http://www.meki.tk/ at April 14, 2003 10:21 AM

Once we get rid of all those poor people we actually have to pay salaries to, we can spend all our vast Pentagon budget on shiny weapons. They are so great to rub up against. And of course the money goes to our cronies.
Of course, the cry will have to change from "Support the troops!" to "Support the missiles!"

Posted by: John Isbell at April 14, 2003 04:02 PM

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