12.24.10

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a terror alert

Posted in War On Terror at 4:56 pm by George Smith

Christmas eve affords an opportunity to consider one of the prime movers of the new American economy: security.

Thanks to the underwear bomber, my pick for the most influential terrorist ever, Xmas is a time for terror alerts based on gossip. Today’s choice: insulated beverage containers, thermoses.

And, conveniently, Paul Krugman has been working through some statistics on the alleged explosion in government employment.

This is the latest and most popular GOP extremist myth; for example, it regularly features in Ted Nugent’s atrocious columns at the Washington Times.

The spurt in government hiring in the spring was the drafting of census enumerators nationwide. Once the collection part of the census was over all of these workers were let go.

Wrote Krugman today:

But anyone paying attention knew why public employment had risen — and it had nothing to do with Big Government. It was, instead, the fact that the federal government had to hire a lot of temporary workers to carry out the 2010 Census — workers who have almost all left the payroll now that the Census is done.

Is it really possible that the authors of those articles and speeches about soaring public employment didn’t know what was going on? Well, I guess we should never assume malice when ignorance remains a possibility.

The only other bulge in government hiring over the past decade has been in homeland security.

In fact, homeland security has been recession proof. Border patrol is still hiring. And it is fairly simple to find regular job postings for DHS at jobs.gov.

The differences between the numbers of “regulatory workers” added for homeland security and “consumer safety and health” — shown here (click that link!) — is staggering.

The divide is an order of magnitude on the side of homeland security.

For anyone who has been paying attention over the past decade, consumer safety and health just haven’t been important. And it shows in the regular news of mass food poisonings.

However, there are always more layers of experts and analysts in homeland security to find enemies, overseas and domestically.

Paradoxically, the great bulge in hiring and work in security has not moved the country forward. Homeland security does not contribute to innovation. It does not provide new ideas. It is not energy efficient.

It does, of course, provide lots of money for basically not-very-productive gadgets and machines churned out by the private sector. These machines do not put money in your pocket. In fact, the opposite.

However, it does provide jobs and salaries. And the people spend that money, contributing to demand for goods and services in the national economy.

“Homeland Security accounts for over 80% of the increase in government regulatory-designated employees during the past 11 years,” stated the Rortybomb blog in November.

al Qaeda, by contrast, doesn’t have nearly the same manpower. And this is why the terrorist group’s much publicized strategy — US death by one thousand cuts — is shit.

They simply don’t have the manpower to implement it. Never will, either.

Comments are closed.