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Not earmarks, but contracts (and what about contracts and the stimulus?)

Bloomberg:

When compared with all federal contracting, just a fraction of U.S. spending waste comes from so-called earmarks, which elected officials often criticize as the unnecessary pet projects of politicians.

U.S. spending on 3.7 million contracts in 2008 represented an increase of 76 percent over 2000 levels.

Just as taxpayers can’t find out how the Treasury and the Federal Reserve used the first half of the bank bailout, Americans are often denied access to public records that provide details on how hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are spent in contracts.

Bloomberg News filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the Treasury Department, the Commerce Department and the Fed asking for documents on the bailout and routine contracts.

As of Jan. 12, seven months after receiving the first request, the three agencies had provided incomplete documents with blacked-out words or nothing at all.

With the federal budget soaring, the Obama administration will have to decide what it will do about giveaways to contractors. Promises from previous administrations to clean up led nowhere.

Obama set up a government performance office two weeks before he was inaugurated. He picked Nancy Killefer, a director of management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., to run it.

Well, we'll see how that works out. Maybe it will.

I mean, it would be nice if the Villagers didn't descend on the stimulus package like a plague of locusts and loot everything.

NOTE Many horrible examples in the article, little on what can be done to fix things. Bonuses for non-performance seem to be a salient feature, much as they are on Wall Street.

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