By Geoffrey Pike
With the current political saga wrapping up of the possible shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we have to ask whether this was really a debate or a show.
I’ll let you in on a little secret regarding the funding of the DHS …
I knew there was not going to be any shutdown of the DHS, or at least anything of any significance.
Even if there had been a shutdown, it probably would have resembled the government shutdown of a couple of years ago where almost nothing changed.
How did I know the DHS would not be shut down? You just have to follow the money.
It is reported that since the creation of the agency in 2002, twenty-four different companies have had contracts totaling one billion dollars or more. This is corporate welfare on a massive scale.
From 2011 to 2014, just five companies with DHS contracts spent a total of $107 million on lobbying efforts. While that is a lot of money, it is small change for the returns these companies get with huge contracts.
Interestingly, IBM has received the most so far, at $4.9 billion. In a close second is Integrated Coast Guard Systems. In third place at $4.1 billion is Computer Systems Corporation.
In other words, the DHS is keeping us safe from terrorism by paying companies tens of billions of dollars to hire programmers and other computer experts.
We have become numb to the idea of a billion dollars, let alone a trillion dollars. But one billion dollars is a million dollars multiplied by 1,000. It is a lot of money.
If you gave me one billion dollars to spend, I’m sure I could hire the best and brightest to stop some terrorists somewhere on the planet.
Another Government-Created Bureaucracy
The idea of a Department of Homeland Security was first proposed publicly in 2001, before the 9/11 attacks. It was officially formed in 2002, pushed by the limited-government conservative George W. Bush (please note the sarcasm).
The DHS is now the third largest cabinet department and employs over 200,000 employees. This has all come about in the last 12 years.
The DHS has received criticism for waste and fraud, but do you think this would ever stop Congress from funding it? It’s just hard to believe it could be so wasteful and bureaucratic when it is only 12 years old. I guess we should never underestimate the power of government.
If Congress did the right thing, it would refuse to fund the department ever again. It would shut it down completely. If there are any parts to be kept, such as immigration services, they could be moved under a different department.
Meanwhile the TSA should be abolished, which is under the DHS.
Airport security should be handled through the free market. Airports and airlines would be much more effective and reasonable, as they would actually have some interest in keeping their customers satisfied.
Of course, none of this is going to happen. The politicians in Washington DC have no reason to shut down any aspect of the DHS as long as their constituents are not kicking up too much of a fuss.
The department was named as such so that politicians could pretend that it is necessary for homeland security. We all want homeland security, right?
The supposed battle that just took place over funding the DHS was just a political game. There is no principled opposition to the department. Both sides tried to score some political points and then the funding continued as usual. The multi-billion dollar contracts will continue, too.
The DHS is just another example of the government taking from the poor and middle class and handing it out to the rich. It is for the connected people. The executives at IBM and the other big contractors will get their big paydays. It comes as a result of taxing and running up the debt.
The DHS should have been shut down, but it wasn’t and it never will be as long as the American people tacitly accept it. There is too much money in it for the special interests.