Simply put, this was a plan to outsource as much of government as possible by forcing federal agencies to compete with private contractors and their K Street lobbyists for huge and lucrative assignments. The initiative's objective, as the C.E.O. administration officially put it, was to deliver "high-quality services to our citizens at the lowest cost." The result was low-quality services at high cost: the creation of a shadow government of private companies rife with both incompetence and corruption . . .
It explains why tens of thousands of displaced victims of Katrina are still living in trailer shantytowns all these months later. It explains why New York City and
Washington just lost 40 percent of their counterterrorism funds . . .
The Department of Homeland Security, in keeping with the Bush administration's original opposition to it, isn't really a government agency at all so much as an empty shell, a networking boot camp for future private contractors dreaming of big paydays.
The Big Lie of the outsourcing approach when it comes to government is that the free market will operate. The Big Truth is that the free market, particulary with the current crew, hasn't been allowed to operate. The low-cost bidders don't get selected because they never get to bid or their bids are disallowed over some technicality or they never hear about the opportunity to bid. The buddies of the President and the Vice President or their appointees get picked. And then places like New Orleans, the Gulf Coast, and Iraq get picked clean.