the Federal Budget To Prevent U.S. Bankruptcy, Part X:
Homeland Security, Justice, and State Not
Exempt from Cuts
Jim Grichar (aka Exx-Gman)
by Jim Grichar
note: I ask readers for their indulgence because of my extensive
use of the b-lingo bureaucrat-lingo and the detail I used in
presenting my arguments. I do this to reduce bureaucratic counter-arguments
which I expect to receive to the absurdity that they invariably
those who did not read Parts IIX of this series, total actual
cuts in proposed spending (what I call the "Cut-o-meter")
now amount to $600 billion. Those cuts came from Defense, NASA,
HUD, the Education Department, the Agriculture Department, Transportation
Department, Interior, Commerce, Energy, Health and Human Services
and other agencies.
proposed fiscal year (fy) 2005 budgets for the Department of Homeland
Security, the Justice Department, and the State Department are $31.1
billion, $23.7 billion and $11.1 billion, respectively. While some
would question cutting these departments while the U.S. government
is engaged in a war on terrorism, there are many programs laden
with pork that are ripe for reduction, if not outright elimination.
Security A Growth Industry for Contractors
up a separate department to take care of "homeland security"
was just what defense and other contractors wanted Washington to
do. While funding for "counter-terrorism" programs had
grown to over $11 billion per year during the Clinton years
all at the behest of the Republican-controlled Congress, the funds
were spread around many departments and agencies, with no clear
focus and no really large lumps of money that were worthwhile going
after by the big contractors. And many of these funds were wasted
on travel, with bureaucrats going to various conferences and talking
about what types of terrorist events might occur and identifying
what types of programs bureaucrats thought should be created and
funded. And here you had been led to believe that nobody in Washington
was doing anything about countering terrorism. Well, they were spending
your money, but you did not get much for that expenditure.
the aftermath of the September 11 destruction of the World Trade
Center and the damage to the Pentagon, politicians and lobbyists
united to push for the creation of a homeland security department.
The Bush Administration, opposed to that path for about 78
months, finally did an about face and embraced the idea. Some cynics
would claim that Bush’s minions had figured out a way to line the
pockets of their cronies in the defense and government-contracting
sector, and I would be hard pressed to challenge that assertion.
Security was fashioned out of agencies and programs from the Justice
Department, the Treasury Department, the Transportation Department,
and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Included are
such organizations as the Immigration and Naturalization Service,
the Customs Service, the Border Patrol, the Secret Service, the
Transportation Security Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard, and
FEMA’s various disaster preparedness and relief programs.
of this $31 billion, the real pork lies in such areas as: 1) state
and local programs $3.439 billion grants to the states
and local governments for homeland security preparedness
fashioned after FEMA’s former civil defense program with some of
the funds taken from Justice (whether the states will actually spend
this money on such preparedness is a good question); 2) firefighter
assistance grants $0.560 billion for chemical/biological
protective gear; 3) transportation security $5.397 billion,
of which mandatory fees (a bureaucratic euphemism for taxes) offset
$2.497 billion, leaving net outlays at $2.9 billion; 4) $3.363 billion
for the disaster relief fund; 4) $1.027 billion for new technologies
to prevent or mitigate disasters, especially the effects of weapons
of mass destruction (WMD) events; and 5) information analysis and
infrastructure protection $0.861 billion. These five areas
add up to $14.6 billion. Congress should demand hard reports on
how this money is actually spent. At least $2 billion could be squeezed
out of these areas, and certainly more in the long run, as a U.S.
foreign policy of neutrality reduced the need to protect the country
from attacks by terrorists. And other homeland security programs
could be scaled back eventually as this foreign policy succeeded
in reducing the number of enemies of the U.S. government.
add $2 billion in definite cuts from the Homeland Security Department
to the Cut-o-meter.
needs trimming, too
part of the creation of the Homeland Security Department, the Justice
Department had to give up some programs like the pork-laden
assistance program to State and local governments that was really
a FEMA-type civil defense program. The good news for the bureaucrats
at Justice is that they got control of the Treasury’s Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (formerly just ATF
the people who started the war against the Branch Davidians in Waco,
now you have Justice with the U.S. Marshals Service ($0.738 billion),
the Federal Bureau of Investigation ($5.9 billion), the Drug Enforcement
Administration ($1.6 billion), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms, and Explosives ($0.864 billion). This whole alphabet soup
of agencies should be downsized and molded into one group, with
drastically reduced legal authorities. This downsized federal law
enforcement group should focus its efforts on getting evidence on
terrorists and arresting those who committed acts of terrorism to
bring them to justice. Crimes that could be handled by states should
be left to the states. Start by cutting $1 billion out of the $9
billion that Justice proposes to spend on all these and cut back
their efforts in other non-critical areas. Stationing FBI special
agents in overseas embassies was a goofy idea to begin with and
often caused conflicts with ongoing CIA operations. Just where does
the U.S. government get the nerve to demand that other countries
enforce its laws? And how about leaving Martha Stewart and others
like her alone? Corporate shareholders are in a much better position
to force out the really bad guys who might be trying to loot businesses
than anyone in the federal government.
the Department of Homeland Security, Justice still doles money out
to police departments via the Office of Justice Programs (OJP).
With a budget of $3.5 billion, OJP proposes to spend $0.221 billion
combating violence against women, $0.680 billion on a crime victims
fund, $0.524 billion for community-oriented police services, and
nearly $2.1 billion for a variety of other programs, including shoveling
more money out to local police departments. Remember Bill Clinton’s
program for putting 100,000 more police on the streets? Well, buying
a laptop computer for a police department was considered the equivalent
of adding a cop to the beat. At least $2 billion of this should
be cut out initially, and eventually all of it should be eliminated.
brings initial cuts from Justice to $3 billion. And much more in
but certainly not least, cuts should be made to the State Department
budget. While the U.S. as long as it has diplomatic relations
with other countries would need to have embassies staffed
by American citizens, the level of staffing and size of embassies
could eventually be downsized. Implementing a neutral foreign policy
eliminates the need for lots of diplomatic schmoozing, arm-twisting,
and bribing of foreign governments to do the bidding of the U.S.
fy 2005, State proposes to spend nearly $4.3 billion for salaries
and expenses for its diplomatic and consular programs and proposes
to spend $0.171 billion to pay into the Foreign Service Retirement
and Disability fund. Cut this by 10%, or $0.45 billion. State also
spends $0.346 billion on education and cultural exchange programs.
These are a waste. Propagandizing the American way of life makes
the U.S. look ugly. Let foreigners judge for themselves by our actions
and life style whether or not they like the U.S.
contributions to international organizations and conferences add
up to a lot of money. Since the U.S. would become a neutral country,
would pull out of the United Nations and not get involved in any
so-called peacekeeping missions, payments to the UN should be eliminated.
For fy 2005, State proposed contributing $1.19 billion to the UN
and also contribute another $0.646 billion for "peacekeeping
activities." Savings from eliminating these two items add up
to nearly $1.84 billion.
the following should also be eliminated: 1) migration and refugee
assistance $0.76 billion this is better left to private
individuals and charities since official contributions by the U.S.
often make enemies of other countries; 2) international narcotics
control and law enforcement $0.52 billion payments
to other countries for "controlling" their narcotics production
this has yet to stop drugs from entering the U.S.; 3) the
Andean Counter Drug Initiative $0.869 billion this
has not stopped drugs from entering the U.S. and has made more U.S.
enemies in Latin America; 4) the Asia Foundation $0.01 billion;
5) the infamous National Endowment for Democracy $0.08 billion
for spreading democracy around the globe; and 6) the East-West Center
located in Hawaii, for technology transfer $0.014
up all the cuts for State and you get a cool $4.9 billion of savings
the Cut-o-meter Total is .... $610 billion
nearly $10 billion in proposed cuts pushes the Cut-o-meter up to
we are not finished! Guess what comes next.
Grichar (aka Exx-Gman) [send
him mail], formerly an economist with the federal government,
writes to "un-spin" the federal government's attempt to con the
teaches economics part-time at a community college and provides
economic consulting services to the private sector.
© 2004 LewRockwell.com