'Hot dog seasoning emergencies' and other stupid Illinois political tricks

Most Americans may struggle to make ends meet in the Brave New Obama World of 29 hour work weeks, but for the political class in the state he sought out as the perfect political home, there's always room for no-bid contracts, those guaranteed profit-spinners at taxpayers' expense. The Illinois Policy Institute explains how the game works.

The Illinois Department of Corrections declared a "hot dog seasoning emergency" when the department ran out of seasoning at the Menard Correctional Center meat shop. They resorted to an emergency $15,000, no-bid contract to restock their supply to end the crisis.

This isn't an isolated incident. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, Gov. Pat Quinn's administration approved more than $135 million in no-bid, emergency purchases. The practice has continued into the current fiscal year, with Illinois Medicaid officials awarding no-bid ObamaCare contracts that could be valued as high as $190 million.

These aren't real emergencies. This is mismanagement and failure to plan ahead. Mismanagement shouldn't be used as an excuse for government to give out emergency, no-bid contracts that skirt the regular competitive bidding rules.

The problem with competitive bids, of course, is that the wrong people might bid too low, and favored vendors, those rich sources of patronage jobs, campaign donations, and what the Chicago vernacular calls "clout," might have to make do with the diminished profit opportunities offered by the free markets for their goods and services. That's a lot harder than greasing the right palms and collecting lush profits.

Now that Illinois has given us Barack Obama as president, crony capitalism is alive well beyond the dreams of Gilded Age robber barons. The inherent dynamism of the American economy, which ought to be booming based on shale oil, information technology, and other products of innovation, is instead being strangled by corruption and bureaucratic obstructionism.

Hat tip: Peter von Buol

Most Americans may struggle to make ends meet in the Brave New Obama World of 29 hour work weeks, but for the political class in the state he sought out as the perfect political home, there's always room for no-bid contracts, those guaranteed profit-spinners at taxpayers' expense. The Illinois Policy Institute explains how the game works.

The Illinois Department of Corrections declared a "hot dog seasoning emergency" when the department ran out of seasoning at the Menard Correctional Center meat shop. They resorted to an emergency $15,000, no-bid contract to restock their supply to end the crisis.

This isn't an isolated incident. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, Gov. Pat Quinn's administration approved more than $135 million in no-bid, emergency purchases. The practice has continued into the current fiscal year, with Illinois Medicaid officials awarding no-bid ObamaCare contracts that could be valued as high as $190 million.

These aren't real emergencies. This is mismanagement and failure to plan ahead. Mismanagement shouldn't be used as an excuse for government to give out emergency, no-bid contracts that skirt the regular competitive bidding rules.

The problem with competitive bids, of course, is that the wrong people might bid too low, and favored vendors, those rich sources of patronage jobs, campaign donations, and what the Chicago vernacular calls "clout," might have to make do with the diminished profit opportunities offered by the free markets for their goods and services. That's a lot harder than greasing the right palms and collecting lush profits.

Now that Illinois has given us Barack Obama as president, crony capitalism is alive well beyond the dreams of Gilded Age robber barons. The inherent dynamism of the American economy, which ought to be booming based on shale oil, information technology, and other products of innovation, is instead being strangled by corruption and bureaucratic obstructionism.

Hat tip: Peter von Buol

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