Federal procurement reports for fiscal years 2006-2010 reveal that…
… my goodness, but that sounds dreadfully dry, doesn’t it? It’s so hard to zip up a sentence that begins with the words “federal procurement reports.” Let’s try again:
A small number of corporations are raking in a whole lot of government cash. See for yourself:
As I noted Monday, the top 5 federal contractors (all weapons manufacturers) received about 1 in 5 contracting dollars from the federal government in 2010. As the graph shows, that wasn’t a fluke: the share taken by the top 5 contractors remained at about 20% from 2006 through 2010.
If the 45 next-highest recipients of contracting cash had received government funds in proportion to the top 5, then the top 50 contractors would have received a mathematically impossible 200% of all federal contracting dollars. The actual share raked in by the top 50 big-buck contractors was about 45% from 2006 to 2010, representing a sharp decrease in funds received. Remember that the 45% share for the top 50 includes the 20% share for the top 5: the 45 next-biggest contract recipients obtained only 25% of contract dollars.
Don’t shed a tear for the top 50, though; consider the next 50 down the list. All together, the top 100 contractors raked in about 55% of all federal contracting dollars from 2006-2010. But remembering that this 55% figure for the top 100 includes the 45% share for the top 50, that means that contractors #51 through #100 altogether only obtained 10% of contract dollars, a deceleration of about 80% from the rate of the top 50.
If we look at the trend in greater detail, graphing the share of all federal contracting dollars for each of the Top 100 contractors, the concentration of contracting dollars at the top of the list becomes even more clear:
Don’t feel too sorry for “little” #100, the Aecom Technology Corporation. It got a whopping $641.7 million contract in 2010. We’re talking about big dollars here, which is what makes the share grabbed by #1 Lockheed Martin even more staggering. The contractors further down the list, from #101 on down, each obtained a decreasingly small share of government contracts.
The bottom line: a surprisingly small number of corporations are grabbing most of the U.S. government’s contracts. In its spending choices, the federal government is acting to redistribute wealth, concentrating it in the hands of already huge (and not very friendly) corporations.