Every bureaucacy wastes money. If it can spend money, it will. It doesn’t matter much on what.
The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) has bought screening machines. It stores them in warehouses. It paid $184 million.
There are two ways of looking at this. One way is to say “let’s get them installed.” The other wa is to say, “Keep them right where they are.”
Is it better to have the equipment installed, thereby reducing our liberty, or stored in warehouses, wasting space.
Do you remember the closing scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark? The one where a crate with the Ark of the Covenant is wheeled around the corner of a huge warehouse?
I say, “Keep the Ark in the warehouse.” Keep it next to the TSA’s screening equipment.
It turns out that the machines didn’t work right.
I would have sent them back for a refund. But that’s not how the TSA works.
The TSA denies everything, of course. But a Congressional committee is looking into it.
Do you think any senior official will get fired at TSA because of this $184 million snafu?
Neither do I.
Eighty-five percent of the equipment has been stored for more than six months, and more than a third for more than a year. One piece has been in storage for six years, more than half its useful life, the report says.
The report estimates that the depreciating value of the equipment during its time in storage cost the agency $23 million.
This is not the first time this has happened.
Between 2004 and 2006, he noted, the agency spent more than $30 million buying explosive-trace-detection portals, known as “puffers,” for use at passenger screening checkpoints.
“Where are the puffers?” Mr. Mica asked, adding that only half of them were ever deployed and the agency found they didn’t work.
And so it goes.
So it will always go.
This is how bureaucracies work.
Do we really want them to be efficient? If they were more efficient, how many freedoms would we lose?