When is Too Much, Too Much?

Walter Williams posted a great article that fits well with our blog’s theme, a primer for the conservative basics. He takes a close look at what something costs versus the benefits gained. A couple of examples are listed.

Let’s apply cost versus benefits to anti-terrorism expenditures. Wyoming has two major cities: Cheyenne, its capital, with 53,000 population; and Casper, with 50,000. Federal and state homeland security anti-terrorism expenditures in 2007 totaled $6,673,910. What is the risk of Wyoming being a terrorist target and, if so, what is the expected cost in terms of human lives and property?

Dr. Williams’ mention of anti-terrorism expenditures got me thinking. Billions of dollars have been made available for homeland security funding at the federal, state and local levels for many years. What determines the pattern of spending from year to year, place to place?

After Sept. 11, the city of New York received billions to meet the terrorism threat. Dollars were spent on just about everything you can imagine, and maybe rightfully so. Firetrucks, special vehicle command posts, computers, weapons, monitoring systems and other hardware were purchased and brought online.

In 2005 and 2006, after sustaining funding levels for the first few years, the federal government realized that enough was enough. New York City was put on notice that the previous funding levels would not continue. Bloomberg, Clinton and Schumer all went nuts. From the Washington Post, June 1, 2006:

“As far as I’m concerned, the Department of Homeland Security and the administration have declared war on New York,” Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told the Associated Press. “It’s a knife in the back to New York, and I’m going to do everything I can to make them very sorry they made this decision.”

The problem I have is that Senators Clinton and Schumer demanded the cash flow continue, and used the threat of terrorism to bash the Bush administration for cutting funding. “We will not be prepared”, they said.

Bull feathers – and here’s a good analogy for you. If your town needed two new fire trucks (hardware) to prepare for the worst, and I gave you two million dollars to go out and buy those two trucks, would you need two million dollars next year too? Nope, you wouldn’t – you already have the damn trucks!

Liberal politicians do this all the time, and it must stop. Who said that only Republicans use the threat of terrorism to grow the size of government?

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.

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