Glenzilla on the L.A. Times’ Homeland Security spending series:
The LA Times, while skillfully highlighting these wasteful programs, depicts them as some sort of unintended inefficiencies. That is exactly what they are not. None of this is unintended or inefficient but is achieving exactly the purposes for which it is designed. That’s true for two reasons.
First, this wastefulness is seen as inefficient only if one falsely assumes that its real objective is to combat Terrorist threats. That is not the purpose of what the U.S. Government does. As Daniel Weeks explains today, the Congress — contrary to popular opinion — is not “broken”; it is working perfectly for its actual owners. Or, as he puts it, “Washington isn’t broken — it’s fixed”:
Our problem today is not a broken government but a beholden one: government is more beholden to special-interest shareholders who fund campaigns than it is to ordinary voters. Like any sound investor, the funders seek nothing more and nothing less than a handsome return — deficits be darned — in the form of tax breaks, subsidies and government contracts.
The LA Times, and most people who denounce these spending “inefficiencies,” have the causation backwards: fighting Terrorism isn’t the goal that security spending is supposed to fulfill; the security spending (and power vested by surveillance) is the goal itself, and Terrorism is the pretext for it. For that reason, whether the spending efficiently addresses a Terrorism threat is totally irrelevant.
Daniel Weeks comes to other conclusions that simply have no basis in fact (for instance, that trial lawyers, our last bastion of resistance against corporate abuses, are in effect getting a federal subsidy without tort reform) and I don’t particularly trust the company he keeps (he’s president of Americans for Campaign Reform, a “bipartisan” organization chaired by former U.S. Sens. Bill Bradley, Bob Kerrey, Warren Rudman, and Alan Simpson, conservatives all) but even a blind squirrel finds the occasional nut.