Sunday, October 31, 2010

$80 Billion on Intelligence and $43 on homeland security

The Washington post reported that the government spent $80 billion on intelligence activities in fiscal 2010 which ended in September 2010. The amount consisted of $53 billion for the CIA and other intelligences agencies that report to the director of national intelligence and $27 Billion for military intelligence. An additional $43 billion was spent on Homeland security and $49 million was spent on state department operations.

Last years budget was $75 Billion and national intelligence was $49.5 million. The amount was double what was spent in 2001. In 2001 the amount was approximately $40 billion.

In the important Washington Post series, "Top Secret America", Robert M. Gates, Secretary of defense, said that a review of intelligence spending is necessary.

The Evil Black Economist want to make several points.

1) First, I am glad, under the leadership of President Obama, the military and CIA are releasing their spending figures. Now we can have an honest discussion of what we are spending the money on and what is the right level of spending for whatever we are buying.

2) The amount of spending is way out of proportion to the amount of safety and counter terrorism we are buying. And some of the counter terrorism money is mis-directed. Terrorism is a long term human development problem best countered with jobs and education not necessarily with counter terrorism spending.

3) The Intelligence - Security complex is one of the few area's were very little is actually produced. The program is a huge middle and upper middle class jobs program. It is time to monitor, measure and streamline the intelligence community.

4) It is also sad how small the minority participation in the intelligence spending establishment. Blacks and Hispanics are few and far between at major firms or as contractors. The IS community is a "good-old boys" network loaded with republican donors and hand shakers.

It is time to open up intelligence spending for the larger benefit of all.

PS. One department doing quite well in minority hiring is the TSA, which employs large numbers of minorities and women. It is also the lowest paying branch of Home land security.

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