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Big Brother Watch

Fifty-Six Billion Dollar Boondoggle

Remnant Staff POSTED: T2/14/11

( “U.S. taxpayers are paying the Department of Homeland Security  $56,336,000,000 this year to porno-scan and grope them and otherwise invade their privacy, while millions of Americans are foreclosed out of their homes,” according to former Assistant Treasury Secretary and Wall Street Journal editor Paul Craig Roberts, writing in the 7 Feb. 2011 online edition of Counterpunch.

Do you feel safe now? Or are you too busy trying to pay your own bills to care overmuch about the way your tax dollars are wasted? Does Catholic common sense cry out to the heavens that this is bureaucratic overkill? Can any country afford to fling so much money at phantoms? The cost is approximately $187 for every man, woman and child in the U.S., so a family of four is paying $748 for “protection” against potential underpants bombers, domestic “extremists” such as yourselves (Trads are a “hate group” according to “trusted” sources such as the SPLC), the elusive Osama bin Laden (nearly ten years and lots of your money later, but nary a trace) and suspicious looking WallyWorld shoppers, among other terror threateners.

Mr. Roberts seems to believe that the nation’s fiscal priorities are skewed in an unhealthy direction, and one would certainly incline to agree that “homeland security” should begin with ensuring some sort of “home” for its citizens, who are not likely to feel overly “secure” if they are homeless. Food too is a necessity for feeling “secure,” and 43 million Americans must resort to the government for assistance; the cost to the taxpayer in fiscal 2010 was ninety five billion dollars! Nearly fifteen percent of the population requires this assistance; do they feel “secure?” How can a “homeland” worthy of the name find itself compelled to redistribute funds on such a vast scale and at the same time fund a “homeland security” apparatus that costs nearly sixty percent of the food assistance program?

As anyone who has studied Catholic Social Teaching knows, “home” plus “land” owned outright and without punitive taxation thereon equals security for those rural and semirural citizens willing and able to put in the effort to grow much of their own food, providing, of course, that the government has not made it illegal to do so, as it appears it is working toward doing, given laws like the Food Safety Modernization Act; there it is again, “security” for one and all. Is it comforting to know that with respect to meat and poultry production in the US, that ten years ago, four companies produce 81 percent of cows, 73 percent of sheep, 57 percent of pigs and 50 percent of chickens, according to testimony given to the House Judiciary Committee in 2000? As of 2008[update], approximately two to three percent of the population was directly employed in agriculture, according to the US Department of Agriculture; that’s reassuring! God forbid the transportation system ever suffers disruption.

How does the government manage to pay for all this “security?” By borrowing, of course! And guess who pays the interest on the loans? To make matters worse, half of the interest payments leave the country. Public debt owned by foreigners has increased to approximately 50% of the total or approximately $3.4 trillion, according to a US Treasury report. Does that make the “homeland” more secure?

A fifty six billion dollar annual budget may seem a drop in the bucket compared with trillions, but it is nevertheless a colossal boondoggle when one takes into account the ever-more-precarious state of the nation internally. The greatest threat to the “homeland security” of the US and indeed all nations is their own profligacy and distorted priorities, in which bureaucracies and abstract “threats” weigh more heavily that the welfare of the individual citizens compelled to fund these collectivist boondoggles and corporate concentration of the provision of basic needs.

It’s “back to basics” time, starting with serious paring of government expense, institutions and the borrowing and taxation which makes them possible, followed by a return to the values and societal priorities so clearly explained by Catholic Social Teaching.

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