The case for abolishing The Department of Homeland Security

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Please oh, please, can we abolish it?

Let’s start with the name. Department of Homeland Security. It weirded me out when I heard GW refer to the USA as “the homeland” over a decade ago. It still does. We don’t live in Germany. The term is very continental and evokes unfortunate images. America is the “home of the brave,” but it’s not the “homeland of the brave.”

OK maybe the homeland thing is just me, but let’s abolish it for trampling on the Constitution, for all the illegal searches and seizures, having to take off our shoes and belts at the airport, and the facilitation of military weaponry and tactics to our police departments. For starters.

The crony capitalism surrounding the beast is yet another reason to make it disappear. For years local politicians around the Beltway fought about where the Department of Homeland Security building was going to be. Maryland, DC, and Virginia grappled viciously for the right to all that government pork.

DC “won” in the end even though the site didn’t have enough parking for the thousands of new government employees. Not to worry, they made space – at the cost of millions to the taxpayer. That is on top of the $3.9 billion already allocated for the project which is the largest government construction project since the Pentagon.

If we abolish the DHS we could turn the HQ into an entrepreneurial incubator instead. That way there might be the odd chance all that money won’t be wasted.

From the very beginning DHS has done wrong by the American people. It’s a vehicle for government waste and over ambitious supercops. Our rights as citizens have been diminished for its existence and I for one would love to see it ended.

(From Bloomberg Businessweek)

That hasn’t stopped a bonanza of spending. Homeland security agencies got about $20 billion in the 2002 budget. That rose to about $60 billion (PDF) this year. Given that spending is motivated by such an elusive threat, it’s no surprise a lot is wasted. The grants made by DHS to states and cities to improve preparedness are notorious for being distributed with little attention to either risk or effectiveness. As an example, economist Veronique de Rugy has highlighted the $557,400 given to North Pole, Alaska, (population 1,570), for homeland security rescue and communications equipment. “If power companies invested in infrastructure the way DHS and Congress fight terrorism, a New Yorker wouldn’t be able to run a hair dryer, but everyone in Bozeman, Mont., could light up a stadium,” de Rugy complained.

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