Neoconservatives may rail against “big government,” but a preferred method of shrinking government over the past twenty to thirty years has been to decrease the number of government jobs while awarding government contracts to private companies. Most notably, we’ve witnessed this recently in the drastic rise of military, mercenary-like contractors such as Blackwater/KBR in Afghanistan and Iraq. In short, it only looks like government has shrunk, when it fact, it has expanded into areas and to employers free from democratic oversight. All those government contractors don’t have to provide any job security for their employees and, until recently, didn’t have to protect their employees from, say, getting raped at work or answer for shoddy work resulting in U.S. soldiers’ deaths. “Contracting out” work is a tried and true maneuver to try to escape government oversight and has been fostered by neocons for decades in the name of the “free market.” Rather than protecting workers, these insidious companies have chosen to protect themselves and the U.S. government responds by continually awarding contracts paid through taxpayer money to these very same companies.
Until now. Hopefully, Franken’s legislation still goes through. Although the Obama administration is signalling that many of the jobs once worked through an ever-increasing number of private contractors will now be reclaimed into the civil service, the current president still adheres to a neoconservative economic philosophy. We’ll just have to see where this all goes.