Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Private Sector Slow on Uptake ...

The economic "re-revolution" - third time through is a charm. Apparently, jobs are more important this time through than GOP ideology or economic shock therapy:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2007 – A team of 25 industrial leaders and business analysts is headed to Iraq today to join 35 others already there working to get almost 200 idle Iraqi factories up and running.

The industrial revitalization initiative is part of a sweeping plan to get Iraqis back to work, restore their livelihoods and jump-start Iraq’s economic base, Paul Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense for business transformation, told Pentagon reporters yesterday.
These businesses, which have sat idle since Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2003, once employed 10 percent of the Iraqi population, Brinkley said. But their impact on the Iraqi economy was even greater, because private-sector companies provided goods and services to the government-run factories. So when the factories closed their doors, the private companies’ customer bases dried up and they, too, were forced to close.

The U.S. government's economic effort in Iraq initially focused on reconstruction, with an assumption that Iraq’s private sector would eventually take over the idle government-owned businesses, Brinkley explained. But that never happened.

So the Task Force for Improved Business and Stability Operations in Iraq, which was working to improve DoD contracting operations in Iraq, shifted its focus in May to stepping up the process.

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