Government contracting and the cost of administering secrecy

Via Radar, via Boing Boing, the new Fun Site, USASpending.gov (oddly, the Radar story is listed under “Exclusives”, and has “DC Confidential” at the top – USAspending.gov, however, is a public, publicy-provided resource for all government expenditures).

The story is amusing, because it’s about the contracting of shredding services by the federal government:

Total costs of (Federally-contracted) shredding services, 2000-2007

Shredding histogram

Most of those years are well above any measure of inflation, by the by. The year 2004 was certainly a good one.

More importantly, the site allows one to get quite an insight into how the Federal government goes about (some of) its business. For example, it isn’t particularly competitive:

Competitiveness of (Federal) contracts for shredding services (all years, 2000-2007)

Competitive pie chart

The IRS is doing it the most (probably to be expected)

Top 5 Agencies

None more so than in a year when the Federal government itself can shift itself to fix the tax system:

2007 Agencies

But the Department of Defense is winning the bigger race, hands down (click for bigger version)

Total contracting

… which is to be expected, when one considers their budget (click to follow the link):

the budget graph

Also a trend increasing healthily:

Total costs of the Defense department, 2000 – 2007

Defence dept budget trend

And also only about 50-50, competitive:non-competitive.

Here’s a neat trick: the National Industries for the Severely Handicapped does well – good!

Top 10 contractors (Federal) for shredding services, 2000-2007

Top 5 contractors

But: only the Treasury department seems to be down with the induction of governmentally-responsible welfarism in Federal purchasing of goods and services (they’re the only department contracting the NISH, but even then only for 187 of 710 total transactions listed) – bad!

What the hell is the stupid problem with the rest of them? David Corn, go find out who those other firms are donating money to.

What a wonderful website. A big element of little interest to me (in no small part because I just don’t know where anything is) is the information concerning where contractors are, and where the work was done – located by Congressional district. That one would be bloody interesting to see picked apart.

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