Lloyd Chapman: What Obama Could Do Now

The federal government has a goal of awarding 23 percent of the total value of its purchases to small businesses.  It is not currently meeting that goal.  A recent study by the American Small Business League  (ABSL) found that small businesses only receive between 2 and 6 percent of federal government contracts (PDF).

The top “small business” contractors of 2008 included Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, 3M, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, Rolls Royce and General Electric (PDF).

Since 2003, more than a dozen federal investigations have found billions of dollars in federal contracts intended for small businesses actually flowing into the hands of Fortune 500 firms and other large businesses.  In Report 5-15, the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General referred to the issue as, “One of the most important challenges facing the Small Business Administration and the entire Federal government today.”

The ABSL  has estimated that this issue pulls more than $100 billion a year in federal contracts out of the middle class economy. With that in mind, President Obama should use the power of his office to directly impact these issues, and stimulate the economy in the following ways:

1. Issue an executive order that would keep his campaign promise to, “end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants.”  Economists agree that the best way to stimulate the economy is to direct federal infrastructure spending to small businesses.  Ending this abuse would infuse the nation’s middle class economy with billions of dollars a month in existing federal infrastructure spending.

2. Support the passage of H.R. 2568, the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act.  H.R. 2568 represents a pure, simple and effective means of directing billions of dollars in existing federal spending to the nation’s 27 million small businesses.  The bill was introduced by Congressman Hank Johnson (D – GA) and currently has bi-partisan support from 26 co-sponsors.

3. Restore the Small Business Administration’s  budget and staffing to pre- Bush Administration levels.  The SBA had a larger budget during the Reagan Administration than it does today.  Since 2003, a series of federal investigations have pointed to a lack of oversight as a major contributing factor to fraud and abuse in small business programs.  President Obama should ensure that the SBA is fully capable of supporting small businesses, and adequately providing oversight on America’s small business programs.

4. Eliminate the Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program, which allows prime contractors to circumvent federal small business subcontracting goals.  It is imperative that the Obama Administration hold prime contractors accountable for hitting small business subcontracting goals.

5. Stop the pentagon from dismantling federal contracting programs for minorities.   The federal appeals court ruling in Rothe Development Corporation v. Department of Defense (DoD) effectively ended small business preference programs for Small Disadvantaged Businesses (SDB).  President Obama should take steps to ensure that SDBs are protected in federal contracting programs.

In November of 2009 Robert Reich stated, “Who is going to buy the stuff we make, or the services we provide?  Right now there is only one buyer left… the government.  The only way to get jobs back right now is for the federal government to spend even more on the roads, bridges, schools, parks, public transport and everything else we need.  Make up for the cut backs on the state level, and in this way, put Americans back to work.”

As the White House well knows, small businesses are responsible for creating between 65 and 90 percent of net new jobs (PDF).  It is critical for our economic recovery that the government takes steps to make sure that 23% of federal contracts actually go to small businesses, and not Fortune 500 companies.

Lloyd Chapman is the founder of the American Small Business League

Other posts in this series:

. Question: What Things Can Obama Do Now?
. Bill Black: What Obama Could Do Now
. Alan Grayson: What Obama Could Do Now
. Glenn Greenwald: What Obama Could Do Now
. James Galbraith: What Obama Could Do Now
. Cynthia Kouril:  Five Things President Obama Can Do Now
. Jon Walker: What Obama Could Do Now

Your Thoughts – What Obama Could Do Now

We are gathering ideas for decisions President Obama could make right now, without waiting for Congress or anyone else.

Here is a resource gathering together the posts that have been written to date by such folks as Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, Alan Grayson, Bill Black, and James Galbraith:

What Obama Could Do Now

We encourage you to write diaries about ideas of what the President can do to help the country right now. Thanks for your participation.

[Hat tip to Teddy Partridge for his suggestion of our new page]

Regional Oil Spill Response Plan – What BP Knew Might Happen

Next time BP whines about “who could have known?” the answer is: they could have, and they did.

See Karen Dalton Beninato‘s expose with inside information leaked by someone with a conscience. [www.neworleans.com]

Highlights:

(1) They knew in the worst case that oil would hit the Louisiana shore within 30 days – they could have prepared, but didn’t.

(2) The PR people were given instructions to be careful not to promise that everything would return to normal – they knew it wouldn’t.

(3) They knew the Corexit dispersant was toxic, so prepared their PR people to say that its toxicity hadn’t been proven.

If only BP cared this much about safe drilling procedures as they do about public relations and their stock price — and I am specifically thinking here about the corners they cut when they withdrew the mud too soon from unset concrete, despite knowing this could make the whole thing fail.

See this Firedoglake exclusive showing that Halliburton and BP knew, in advance, of the dangers of cutting corners with unset concrete.

More, much more, available here on FDL’s Oil Resources Page and FDL’s Oil Resources Archives. Sadly, we expect this resource page to be active for a long time to come.

Who could have known? BP and Halliburton.

Regional Oil Spill Response Plan – What BP Knew Might Happen

Next time BP whines about "who could have known?" the answer is: they could have, and they did.

See Karen Dalton Beninato‘s expose with inside information leaked by someone with a conscience. [www.neworleans.com]

Highlights:

(1) They knew in the worst case that oil would hit the Louisiana shore within 30 days – they could have prepared, but didn’t.

(2) The PR people were given instructions to be careful not to promise that everything would return to normal – they knew it wouldn’t.

(3) They knew the Corexit dispersant was toxic, so prepared their PR people to say that its toxicity hadn’t been proven.

If only BP cared this much about safe drilling procedures as they do about public relations and their stock price — and I am specifically thinking here about the corners they cut when they withdrew the mud too soon from unset concrete, despite knowing this could make the whole thing fail.

See this Firedoglake exclusive showing that Halliburton and BP knew, in advance, of the dangers of cutting corners with unset concrete.

More, much more, available here on FDL’s Oil Resources Page and FDL’s Oil Resources Archives. Sadly, we expect this resource page to be active for a long time to come.

Who could have known? BP and Halliburton.

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BP’s New Solution: Top Kill – Can It Work?

Point of spill origin underwater

The latest proposed solution to the gulf oil spill is so-called “Top Kill”, which could begin as early as Sunday.

Not sure BP knows what it’s doing, other than a masterful PR job. Here’s what FDL writer Oilfieldguy had to say about the Top Kill idea on May 8:

Okay, so it worked sometimes in the burning fields of Kuwait. Basically, the idea is to use the worthless Blow Out Preventers to jack into the hole and pump in ground up rubber. Heavy drilling mud is pumped in after that, then cement. R. L. Miller pointed me to the story here.

Other sources are here and here.

BOP’s have hydraulic hoses leading to them that operate the massive valves to shut in a well. They can, in some instances, apply a million pounds of pressure. The idea, as I understand it, is to use subs to reconfigure the control box tied into the BOP’s, jack into choke and kill lines on the BOP to pump in hole plugging stuff.

First in is rubber. Old shredded tires and mats and stuff from what I gather, then weighted drilling mud and then cement.

They say this was done successfully in the 1st Gulf War, to squelch fires in Kuwait. In the blistering sun. In the desert. On dry land.

Facing potentially the worst man-made ecological disaster on the planet, this pulling shit out of your ass, or winging it, is unacceptable.

Stepping off of a ninety foot cliff and saying “woops” is not going to change what happens next. We need to realize that.

BP knew this accident was possible, even likely, years ago. The government – Minerals Management – and BP knew there could be a blowout, a spill, and a giant plume years ago. Nobody bothered to test the equipment that could stop this from happening. Do we really trust BP this time?

[still image by twolf1 from BP video released to the public]

BP’s New Solution: Top Kill – Can It Work?

The latest proposed solution to the gulf oil spill is so-called "Top Kill", which could begin as early as Sunday.

Not sure BP knows what it’s doing, other than a masterful PR job. Here’s what FDL writer Oilfieldguy had to say about the Top Kill idea on May 8:

Okay, so it worked sometimes in the burning fields of Kuwait. Basically, the idea is to use the worthless Blow Out Preventers to jack into the hole and pump in ground up rubber. Heavy drilling mud is pumped in after that, then cement. R. L. Miller pointed me to the story here.

Other sources are here and here.

BOP’s have hydraulic hoses leading to them that operate the massive valves to shut in a well. They can, in some instances, apply a million pounds of pressure. The idea, as I understand it, is to use subs to reconfigure the control box tied into the BOP’s, jack into choke and kill lines on the BOP to pump in hole plugging stuff.

First in is rubber. Old shredded tires and mats and stuff from what I gather, then weighted drilling mud and then cement.

They say this was done successfully in the 1st Gulf War, to squelch fires in Kuwait. In the blistering sun. In the desert. On dry land.

Facing potentially the worst man-made ecological disaster on the planet, this pulling shit out of your ass, or winging it, is unacceptable.

Stepping off of a ninety foot cliff and saying "woops" is not going to change what happens next. We need to realize that.

BP knew this accident was possible, even likely, years ago. The government – Minerals Management – and BP knew there could be a blowout, a spill, and a giant plume years ago. Nobody bothered to test the equipment that could stop this from happening. Do we really trust BP this time?

[still image by twolf1 from BP video released to the public]

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