As the productive economy has shrunken in size over the past few decades, while at the same time the amount of money that government spends has continued to swell, it has become increasingly profitable to start a business selling something to a government. After all, just like the famous bank robber once said, “That’s where the money is.” In this way, a so-called private business can reap the benefits of attaching itself to the taxpayers’ throats just like a vampire.
This is essentially the “Military Industrial Complex” business model; for example, according to governmentcontractswon.com, DOD contractors “won” 503,093 contracts in 2011, worth a total of $368,876,312,263. Governmentcontractproposals.com claims:
The opportunities for small businesses is enormous. The U.S. Government is the largest consumer in the world and Government Contracts is one way to keep Americans working. Over 50% of American workers are employed by small businesses.
In 2009, it is estimated that $500 billion in federal state and local government contracts will be up for grabs. That is $1+ billion awarded each workday. Getting your share of this guaranteed business doesn’t happen by accident.
Securing government contracts is a recession-proof plan for small business owners. There is an average of 54,000 U.S. government awards each workday for small businesses of all kinds.**
I love the part about government contracts being one way to “keep Americans working.” In other words, regardless of the fact that government contracts are paid with taxpayer money, it is morally acceptable to tax people working in the productive part of the private sector simply to keep other people in make-work government-funded “private” jobs. The deficit spending is being used for, among other things, creating more and more private-sector businesses that are really just wards of the state, and which can be counted on to vote for more government spending.
When I hear the term “Public / Private Partnership,” this is what I think of.
Attracted by the allure and easy money of government contracting, and anxious for a piece of the action, all sorts of businesses have sprung up. Few are more pernicious than this:
Judges Admit to Jailing Children for Money (from the Inquisitr.com)
Philadelphia, Pa. – Judges Mark Ciavarella and Michael Conahan of the Court of Common Pleas in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, plead guilty in open court that they sentenced children to juvenile detention because they were paid off to do it by the PA Childcare and a sister company, Western PA Childcare corporation that ran the private facilities.
The companies in question paid the two judges more than $2.6 million dollars to send children to detention. The companies receive a stipend from the government for each inmate they house. So as more children were sentenced to the detention center, PA Childcare and Western PA Childcare received more money from the government, prosecutors said.
According to the Juvenile Law Center, a Philadelphia nonprofit group, teenagers were sentenced to detention for simple misdemeanors.
**Update: quotation attribution for www.governmentcontractproposals.com. While the entire quote was listed in the post, only the first paragraph was attributed as the quotation.