Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cost-Benefit Analysis in Government Works Sometimes: "Department of Homeland Security cancels virtual border fence"

The folks over at the Department of Homeland Security might just be getting a little bit smarter. Via Politico, we learn that occasionally, the U.S. government can stop wasting money on an utterly doomed, ill-conceived, and mostly useless project: the virtual fence along the U.S.-Mexico border:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on Friday her department is canceling a $3 billion program to erect a problem-plagued, high-tech, virtual fence along the U.S. border with Mexico.
Department officials briefed Congress Friday on its decision to scrap the Secure Border Initiative (SBINet) and its plan to move ahead with commercially available mobile surveillance systems, drones, thermal imaging devices, tower-based surveillance and some elements of the program on the chopping block.
“SBInet cannot meet its original objective of providing a single, integrated border security technology solution,” Napolitano said.
But no fear - I'm sure that the Department of Homeland Security will figure out some other way to spend billions of government dollars to keep out illegal immigrants who don't cost the U.S. very much in the first place. Just like with the virtual fence, I expect a treatment that (in economic terms, anyway) is probably worse than the disease.

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