Thursday, March 31, 2005

Military Industrial Complex

One theme Historians will find when they look back on the Bush years will be the Executive reasserting control over the bureaucracy, and the networks of contractors and vendors (and their Congressional Reps) linked with the bureaucracy. There's a Military Industrial complex and Healthcare Industiral complex and all sorts of entrenched interests groups throughout the government. Many have gone amok.

Paul Singer wrote about this in an article on Bush and the bureaucracy: a crusade for control. Singer said,

The federal bureaucracy is a notoriously unwieldy beast. It includes about 1.9 million civilian employees, many of whom have agendas that differ from the president's. Each administration, Republican or Democratic, struggles with its relationship with an army of workers who were on the job before the new political team arrived, and who expect to be there after the team leaves.

"You have this bizarre cycle, where the leader comes into the room and says, 'We are going to march north,' and the bureaucracy all applaud," said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. "Then the leader leaves the room, and the bureaucracy says, 'Yeah, well, this "march north" thing is terrific, but this year, to be practical, we have to keep marching south. But what we'll do is, we'll hire a consultant to study marching north, so that next year we can begin to think about whether or not we can do it.' "

The agendas elbow me out of the good seats in that room so I stand in the back, calculator in hand; but I've been there and believe me the suits keep marching south.


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