Saturday, November 12, 2011
Yet Another Major Federal Contract with No Competitive Bidding
reports here that the Obama Administration crammed through a contract (worth nearly a half billion) for an experimental smallpox vaccine without any competitive bidding on the project. Privatization and government outsourcing advocates often extol the efficiency that free-market forces will bring to government endeavors, meaning competitive pressures to perform. Unfortunately, instances of no-bid contracts worth millions (or, in this case, hundreds of millions) in taxpayer dollars are very common. If there is no competition for the contracts, there are no market forces at work, and no resulting efficiency gains. The article also points out, unsurprisingly, a number of concerns about the costs and need for the contract. As often happens with large-scale government contracts, the contracting firm's controlling stockholder is a major donor to election campaigns (in this case, Democrats). Ironically, this is from the same Administration that publicly denounced the Supreme Court's Citizen United decision limiting campaign contributions by corporate interests.