Sunday, October 20, 2013

Turning a Glitch into a Gotcha

With the threat of debt default delayed until February, Tea Party Republicans remain determined to win in defeat what they lost by blackmail.  Unbowed and undeterred, the anti-abortion party wants to abort ObamaCare, exploit every glitch to turn public opinion against it, and sabotage reform at all cost. SNAFU! See, they told you so!

An error of attribution, real fault points in the direction of government contractors and the procurement process.  In this case, one culprit is Booz Allen, a legacy contractor with deep political pockets – the same corporation at the center of the Snowden mess.

An estimated dozen or more firms won ACA contracts - stalwarts such as Booz Allen, Rand, CGI, Deloitte, Xerox (a $72 million contract to build the Nevada exchange and $68 million for the Florida exchange), and Vagent (a vagrant subsidiary of General Dynamics).

On the lobbying and political contribution side of this mugging are QSS-United Health ($10 million in lobbying and direct political contributions), Vagent ($24 million), and Verizon Business Services ($$35 million), as examples.  Did I say lobbying and political contributions?  Oops, perhaps I should have used the words bribery and graft:
Some 17 ACA contract winners reported spending more than $128 million on lobbying in 2011 and 2012, while 29 had employees or political action committees or both that contributed $32 million to federal candidates and parties in the same period (source).
Every glitch feeds the narrative of an inept government, a favorite stalking point of the Tea Party Republicans.  Of course, mainstream media reports all controversies as high drama for entertainment but fails to investigate the creepier things lurking under rocks:
  • Legacy contractors and their culture of overarching entitlement (meaning guaranteed profits with no obligation to be held accountable for the integrity and timeliness of their work),
  • The incestuous relationship between the captains of capitalism and the politicians who sleep with them. 
In short, here is your free enterprise system at work - in secret and behind your back.
Remember Halliburton, the company that won billions of dollars in no-bid contracts and honored American taxpayers by moving corporate headquarters to a tax-free zone in Dubai? How quickly the public forgets the outrage expressed by Senator Patrick Leahy (D. Vermont): "This is an insult to the U.S. soldiers and taxpayers who paid the tab for their no bid contracts and endured their overcharges for all these years" source.
Those who blame glitches in implementation on President Obama or Kathleen Sebelius miss the point.  No amount of partisan pandering or intellectual dishonesty will get you to the root of the problem unless you are willing to dig deeper.


  1. "Those who blame glitches in implementation on President Obama or Kathleen Sebelius miss the point."

    And those are the saner ones. What about the ones who blame world oil prices on Obama? Hell, the hard core soft head Republicans blame George Bush on Obama. I think that if one digs deep enough the shovel begins to melt when it hits the molten core of seething evil upon which American politics floats.

    And whose fault is it that the country tolerates it, fosters it, supports it, promotes it, writes patriotic songs about it?

  2. I agree with all and I have nothing to add.


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