The only thing we have to fear is fear itself and we are apparently very afraid. The ever mutating concept of “homeland security” has garnered more public funds since 9/11 than President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Pretty amazing, who knew fighting phantoms could be so expensive?
For decades, the Department of Defense has met this definition to a T. Since 2003, however, it hasn’t been alone. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which celebrates its 10th birthday this March, has grown into a miniature Pentagon. It’s supposed to be the actual “defense” department — since the Pentagon is essentially a Department of Offense — and it’s rife with all the same issues and defects that critics of the military-industrial complex have decried for decades. In other words, “homeland security” has become another obese boondoggle.
But here’s the strange thing: unlike the Pentagon, this monstrosity draws no attention whatsoever — even though, by our calculations, this country has spent a jaw-dropping $791 billion on “homeland security” since 9/11. To give you a sense of just how big that is, Washington spent an inflation-adjusted $500 billion on the entire New Deal.
Of course the defense for this extravagant spending is always the spooky and cryptic “you never hear about our successes, just our failures.” That is a pretty good line but couldn’t every government program defend itself on those terms? And what in the world could justify such massive amounts of spending?
Why spying on the electorate of course. According to government documents retrieved under Freedom of Information Act requests, the Department of Homeland Security routinely spies on honest law abiding American citizens who have any kind of political views. Yes, that’s right. If you care to share your political views with others, online or in person, prepare to be spied upon by the government. “Homeland Security” means policing opinions. With 300 million Americans, that ends up being rather expensive.
And as that $800 billion goes out the door to juiced in contractors and other crony capitalists with friends in Washington what does the public get in return? Not safety and security as the Boston Bombing just demonstrated. Say what you will about the imperfections of the New Deal at least some roads got built. What has the average American gotten from DHS other than some TSA flunkie fondling their fun parts at the airport?
$800 billion to build a grotesque cage for a supposedly free people. I want my money back.