Wednesday, March 16


Courtesy of Sully, here's an AEI analysis of our Homeland Security spending. (Yes, that's the arch-conservative American Enterprise Institute.)

We conclude that a large portion of homeland security-spending decisions are made on a political basis rather than on a sound cost-benefit analysis, leading to the traditional public choice failures that plague government spending more generally. As a result, homeland security funding is likely to be misallocated, resulting in a less than optimal level of security in America.
This paper will show that a substantial portion of new homeland security spending is being used for grants to state and local governments, many of which appear to be applied to questionable purchases. Second, the large increase in spending appears to have occurred without risk and cost benefit analysis, leading to a large amount of wasteful spending. For instance, a significant amount of spending is directed to addressing risks that are possibly obsolete, or fighting yesterday’s battle, which is likely not the most efficient use of limited federal resources.

This is a fascinating report. For instance, did you know that fully 10% of the DHS budget is so-called disaster aid for farm states? The budget is FULL of pork for things having nothing to do with defending the homeland from terrorists. And the AEI is scathing in its criticisms of the Transportation Security Administration, whose budget now exceeds that of the FBI.

And the Bush administration doesn't get off without a spanking: "Between FY2001 and FY2005, the administration expects total outlays to rise from $1,864 billion to $2,423 billion--a 30 percent increase.[151] The Bush administration has followed a remarkably irresponsible course by requesting many spending increases often in the name of security but rarely asking for cuts to programs or agencies. As for Congress, most members are blaming the overall spending increases on post-9/11 national security costs and few talk about eliminating unneeded government programs to fund this added protection money. No trade-offs are being made in the budget, as evinced by the fact that non-defense spending has increased by 42 percent in four years.[152] "

AEI's conclusion:

Yet, because most of the money is allocated on a political basis rather than a sound cost benefit analysis, much of the new spending will not result in sound security. In other words, the security we are getting against terrorism is likely to be ineffective, yet comes at an enormous expense. [Emphasis mine]

Yikes. They suggest that security experts should make the spending decisions, not politicians.

Tell it to the Bush administration and the Republican Congress.


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