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Yeah, Again. I Know, Shocking, Huh?

10/06/2017 4:50 PM

Delays, and delays, and delays.

Cost overruns and more cost overruns. And all the time soaking up yet more money that could have been spent on less boon-doggley programs.

I'm starting to wonder if the JWST will ever into space.

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#1

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/06/2017 5:09 PM

This should come as no surprise to you.

Everybody low-balls to get the contract. Then reality sets in down the road.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/06/2017 5:16 PM

I would have to agree with you. G.A.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/06/2017 5:24 PM

Yep. I was of course using 'shocking' facetiously.

And yeah, I know the article says: “The Congressional cap is on the development (through commissioning) cost of Webb and not the launch date,” says program director of JWST Eric Smith (NASA). “No new funding for Webb will be required even with the launch date change.”

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/06/2017 5:51 PM

Having been involved in government contracting for over 20 years, I can tell you that the, "everything that can go wrong, will go wrong," syndrome can come home to roost at any time. I'm sure you know this too.

I once needed about 3 ounces of silicone rubber gum-stock to mold 18 tiny shock absorbers for some missile test. I found it across town, with all the necessary certs. from an approved vendor's shop for $50.00 with paperwork. Called purchasing and told them to order it and I'd pick it up the next day. Purchasing called later to tell me that while they were approved for supplying parts, they were not approved for supplying uncured gum-stock.

5 weeks, and thousands of dollars, later the government got their little red snubbers and I had almost three pounds of useless silicone rubber gum-stock to store.

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/07/2017 10:38 AM

I hear ya.

For 15 years I worked for a company that did military optics and electronics. Over those 15 years I'd made numerous acquaintances in the industry and was given dozens of free samples of filters, coatings, specialty glass, etc., that was worth thousands of dollars. I built up a wide-ranging and time-saving stock of samples I used for testing, proof of concepts, making quick 'guesstimates' for proposals, and so forth.

After I left the company, I heard that the QA department did a sweep through the labs and anything that wasn't a 'documented purchase' got thrown out. The guy who replaced me was a young guy who didn't know any better and didn't squawk about keeping the stuff. If I'd known that was going to happen, I'd have taken the stuff with me when I left the company.

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/08/2017 12:47 PM

I too worked for the government at one of their shipyards. Everything was by the numbers which of course cost many more dollars. We were told by our supervisor close to the end of the current budget to spend as much as possible so the coming budget would reflect a higher budget requirement. Who was I to argue. I was able to order some goodies that we didn't need as long as we could justify them for our projects.

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#10
In reply to #1

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/08/2017 3:17 PM

Back when I worked for the gov't, we had sole source contracts. They didn't need to low ball to get the contract, since they were the only game in town. For normal build contracts, we had firm fixed pricing - we were okay with high $$, since we knew our sponsor in Washington would approve it and the more money in our contracts, the more power we had. Sounds crazy, but it's true.

When we were contracting for new projects, we had cost plus contracts with a $$ cap. I hated these, because the contractor would always hit the cap and we'd have to ask our sponsor for more money. They would also place excess workers under that contract.

Here's another way to think of these contracts.

1. Yes, they are not efficient and they are wasting our tax money.

2. They provide jobs for the contractors at high wage scale.

3. The people who sell to the contractor and the subs get paid top dollar for the MIL-SPEC products.

4. All these overpaid people do spend money in their community, on their homes and vacationing, which helps the economy.

5. Our economy is based on an increasing GDP. If the GDP isn't increasing, we're in a recession, which is not good for us.

6. The government subsidizes these industries, so our economy can keep expanding.

We would call it welfare for many of the gov't workers and the contractors.

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/08/2017 3:35 PM

I actually quit my job with the gov't, because of the waste I saw. I didn't want to be associated with wasting tax payer money. I held this belief until this year, when a revelation hit me. Here's what happened.

The school board I'm on was offered a proposal to have their facility updated to be more energy efficient. This included changing 4 ft fluor tubes to LED at the average cost of $50/tube and changing the thermostats to "smart" thermostats, similar to the one made by Nest for the cost of $1,200 each! I fought it and our board actually voted no. I talked to someone about this and they gave me a different perspective. The reason the cost is so high is that the state requires the contractor to use "prevaling wage" for all the work. What this means is that an electrician must be hired to change the bulbs and thermostat, even though a handyman can do the job. The reason the state makes this requirement is not because of the quality of work - how hard is it to change a 4 ft tube - remember, we're not changing the fixture or the ballast - just swapping out a tube. The reason is that they want to stimulate the economy by having more electricians on the job. I found out that there was a glut of electricians sitting idle, prior to the start of the program. Now, they're fully employed. At just below $47/hr, these people make good money and they are spenders. As a whole, they'll help the economy improve and we'll be more energy efficient.

It may not seem to be a good use of tax dollars, but it's artificially boosting the economy at a time when help is needed.

Just another way to look at it.

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#15
In reply to #11

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/10/2017 1:56 PM

So then you went into used cars....(just kidding, amigo, don't get all western on me).

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#14
In reply to #1

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/10/2017 1:55 PM

Some of us know more about bait and switch tactics than the others, right boyo?

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#5

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/06/2017 6:34 PM

They'll get you every time...

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#6

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/07/2017 3:45 AM

Oh! not again! Does James Stewart knew about this?

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/07/2017 5:16 AM

Must you wind him up?

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#16
In reply to #7

Re: Yeah, again. I know, shocking, huh?

10/10/2017 1:58 PM

Who's wound up? I am just sorry for all those milkmen!

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#12

Re: Yeah, Again. I Know, Shocking, Huh?

10/09/2017 9:17 AM

If there was anywhere close to precise bidding in government contracts... we'd still be living like this.

which some may believe is not that bad.

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#13

Re: Yeah, Again. I Know, Shocking, Huh?

10/10/2017 1:54 PM

My guess: yes. Hey somebody has to make a living off this stuff so they can pass it along to the rest of us chumps out here.

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