The Department of Homeland Security’s budget has tripled from $18 billion in 2002 to $57 billion in 2013. President Bush promised “improved efficiency without growing government.” It’s hard to imagine a workforce that has grown from 163,000 in 2004 to 193,000 by 2013 as a model of efficiency. But there’s a silver lining in this story, as my friend Chris Edwards writes:
A small bit of good news is that taxpayers may be spared the costs of a planned DHS Taj Mahal. From the Washington Post yesterday:
The construction of a massive new headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security, billed as critical for national security and the revitalization of Southeast Washington, is running more than $1.5 billion over budget, is 11 years behind schedule and may never be completed, according to planning documents and federal officials.
It looks like gridlock was the taxpayers’ benefactor in this case:
…the capital region’s largest planned construction project since the Pentagon — has become a monumental example of Washington inefficiency and drift. Bedeviled by partisan brawling, it has been starved of funds by both Republicans and Democrats.
Bigness and centralization rarely lead to quality and efficiency in government. So let’s hope that this Bush-era project is laid to rest and that policymakers start focusing on those “future savings” that we were promised.