Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Government Contracting: Recession Proof?

People in the DC area are well aware that the "industries" here are government and government contracting. People outside the DC area may think Blackwater and other much-publicized military contractors, when, there's probably more government contractors working at Help Desks than on weaponry. That's among the reasons this area is called "recession-proof". I remember a few years ago being called by a man in Orlando, Florida to set up an interview for me to work as a subcontractor to a Texas company at the site of the prime contractor in Virginia. I researched the company and found out it was an Alaska Native Corporation. (In Florida?) Further research revealed that Alaska Native Corporations were the benefactors of no-bid contracts catalyzed by Senator Ted Stevens...of Alaska (you know, the recently convicted felon.) So, I ended up taking the job from the guy in Florida that I never met, after being interviewed by the girl who flew out from Houston to the prime contractor's site in Virginia. Turns out the job description was a bit padded; (the technical writing tasks amounted to no more than generating meeting minutes twice per week) I couldn't take the idleness for long and moved on. In this collapsing economy, I listened attentively to Daniel Zwerdling's story about contracting on NPR's Morning Edition this morning.

Chris Matthews reported tonight that 22.62% of Americans voted for Barack Obama. Apparently this is a big number, second highest to the percentage of folks who voted for Ronald Reagan. Given the complexities of this time, and the alternative (McCain often, seemingly proudly, stated that he'd graduated 5th from the bottom in his college class), the American people made the right decision. In his Thanksgiving Day column, Good Time for a Brainy President, David Broder seemed to be the voice inside my head:
I attempt to follow the discussion in newspapers and on Jim Lehrer's "NewsHour" and other deeply serious television programs about the latest moves by the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury -- and I am stumped.

The sums are so staggering, the vocabulary so unfamiliar, the experience so uninformative that I have not a clue whether Bernanke, Paulson and Co. are on top of the situation or are inadvertently making things worse.

And like Mr. Broder, I too am thankful and "I am struck by how lucky this country is, at the moment, that the president-elect is a super-smart person like Barack Obama."
(even if it means my job is at stake. Whose isn't, really?

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