For a snap insight into the Bush administration’s execution of compassionate conservatism, compare these lead paragraphs from two New York Times’ stories. The first excerpts are from this morning’s edition.
The Army has decided to reimburse a Halliburton subsidiary for nearly all of its disputed costs on a $2.41 billion no-bid contract to deliver fuel and repair oil equipment in Iraq, even though the Pentagon's own auditors had identified more than $250 million in charges as potentially excessive or unjustified.
The Army said in response to questions on Friday that questionable business practices by the subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, had in some cases driven up the company's costs. But in the haste and peril of war, it had largely done as well as could be expected, the Army said, and aside from a few penalties, the government was compelled to reimburse the company for its costs.
Under the type of contract awarded to the company, "the contractor is not required to perform perfectly to be entitled to reimbursement," said … a spokeswoman for the southwestern division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, based in Dallas, where the contract is administered.
Then recall, from a February 5 2003 NYT story, who the Bush administration does expect “to perform perfectly to be entitled to reimbursement”:
President Bush's budget proposes new eligibility requirements that would make it more difficult for low-income families to obtain a range of government benefits, from tax credits to school lunches.
Arguing that much of the federal money intended for poor people is diverted through error and fraud, the administration wants to require families to supply more proof of their income and living arrangements before they can qualify for aid.
That says it all, doesn’t it?