The Corner

Priorities

From a reader:

Jonah,

Do you really believe that Kansas City will be the

target of an Al Queda attack? What about Louisville,

would it make sense to strike there? This is simple

and common sense. By definition terrorists want to

impose as much terror on the populous as possible, and

it makes sense to strike where the most people are and

the biggest landmarks are. This is pure and plain

pork to red states, and a good reason why I have a

hard to time taking this administration seriously.

I’m not the biggest Tony Blair fan, but I’m sure that

Leeds or Cornwall won’t be receiving their “fair

share” of Britain’s homeland security funds.

Me: No, I don’t think Kansas City is very high up on al Qaeda’s target list. But that was hardly the point of my post. I was speaking hypothetically. I do think there are places outside of New York, LA and DC that probably could use some improvements security-wise (nuclear power plants? the border? Chicago? Los Alamos?). And there may in fact be a thing or two that really need to be done in Kansas City before we spend more money on searching old ladies’ handbags on NY subways. I do not doubt for a moment that there is an outrageous amount of pork in all of this spending, including in New York. And, whatever the reason, politicians will always scream and yell when federal money is pulled from their constituencies. Period.

But if I recall the original homeland security spending formula was even dumber in that it gave money based on a flat population rate or some such. That was really stupid. This at least seems like someone at DHS is making decisions based on something other than an idiotic formula. But again, my point was about the principle. I haven’t waded deep into the weeds of the actual spending. But my guess — based on stuff like KLo’s angry New Yorker email — New York has lots of places where it can trim its spending.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.

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