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Government contracts: What's most

Congress established more than 200 Alaska native corporations, or ANCs, 40 years ago to provide land and money for indigenous people who had long been mired in deprivation and dislocation.

Each of the 75,000 original Alaska native shareholders received a stake in one of the new corporations, which held out the promise of economic development and a better life. The corporations have received extraordinary exemptions that have enabled them to receive $29 billion in federal contracts in the past decade.

Native shareholders have gotten relatively little of the contracting largess. In many cases, the bulk of the money and jobs has gone to nonnative executives, managers, employees and traditional federal contractors in the lower 48 states, a Washington Post examination has found.

By Abha Bhattarai  |  September 30, 2010; 1:52 PM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The FAR, of course.

Posted by: reddogsrisen | October 2, 2010 9:37 AM

Great discussion. One issue here is whether or not the government (federal and state) has a constitutional mandate to use taxpayer money to micro-manage "social change" through its procurement processes. These additional "political correctness" government and business costs are absorbed by the taxpayers.

In the end, "political correctness" doesn't stimulate economic growth.

Given our flagging economy, the question should be, "How many favor tossing government 'political correctness' mandates in order to lower costs to taxpayers and stimulate economic growth?"

Posted by: EricS1 | October 2, 2010 12:21 PM

After 40 years, this program still isn't working as intended so maybe it's time to end the experiment. Helping Alaska natives is a good idea but poverty and lack of education can't be fixed by sending them RFPs for contracts they don't have the experience or resources to handle.

It's also disingenuous of the Post to act as though they've just now uncovered this. Is everyone at the Post new in town? So many people here either work for the government or for a govt contractor -- how this all works is no big secret. Even for those of who don't work for the govt or a contractor.

Posted by: jt12 | October 2, 2010 1:02 PM

The most important elements in a government contract are to make sure, first of all, that the proposed action is appropriately performed by a private contractor rather than the government itself. I do not believe in the knee-jerk "privatization" which has been going on at least since the Reagan Administration. Next, find competent AMERICAN companies who will perform the job well, employing AMERICANS and using products manufactured in AMERICA.

Posted by: ejs2 | October 2, 2010 5:58 PM

When has the United States Federal government ever gotten anything right with indigenous populations? For people to do things they must be educated. This was a hand out. Money down the drain. Educate the people and they can aspire.

Posted by: bobbo2 | October 2, 2010 10:20 PM

Nice job, WaPo- it's nice to see this issue framed as a set of competing priorities and trade-offs. One thing that Americans across the board have to realize is that we can't have our cake and eat it too. (Though our politicians constantly seem to be implying that we can.) To make good policy, we need to come into the process with some kind of cohesive understanding of what our goals are and then objectively evaluate the array of available options to get there - and this approach applies to everything from contracting to taxes to education to immigration and beyond.

Posted by: NatinFallsChurch | October 2, 2010 10:24 PM

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