Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Monday, March 31, 2008
The contract game
There will be no more warm rubs on the head from the Prez for Alphonso.

Alphonso Jackson, President Bush's HUD secretary, announced his resignation today, effective April 18. (I guess he won't be around to help implement Paulson's Miracle, after all ... )

The resignation is not all that surprising, given that Mr. Jackson is under investigation by a federal grand jury, and after the scandal touched off when it was discovered that he was vetting potential HUD contractees for their affection for George W. Bush. But something else Jackson told the group of minority contractors in Dallas is less surprising if you're familiar with contracting, and the politics and favoritism that goes into it, or if you're familiar with the way government contracting is seen as a path to wealth for many businessmen, minority and otherwise:
The secretary told the group he had canceled a contract after the contractor said he had a problem with President Bush: "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use the funds to try to campaign against the president?" Jackson said. "Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."

The secretary also told the audience "how government works. Once you get the contract," he said, "they just keep giving you tax dollars. ... The most amazing thing I've ever seen is the amount of contracts we give out every day. One contract can make you wealthy."

Again, it's not just Black contractors who operate this way. Come to Miami and observe how Cuban-Americans work the system, or toddle up to Washington and take a gander at the Iraq contracting and trace the tentacles back to relationships within the White House (particularly the vice president's office) and you'll see that the federal government has become not only the employer of last resort for an economy that produces little, but also the banker, and the contractor to a growing proportion of small businesses. George Will on "This Week" on Sunday proposed that left and right agree that if government is going to give corporate welfare, there should also be a cap on CEO earnings to match it. That will never happen of course, but the point Will was making is true: the U.S. economy is so thoroughly planned and centralized in Washington, no wonder it doesn't grow much anymore.

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posted by JReid @ 11:02 AM  
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