I suspect history will someday record the Homeland Security Department as one of the biggest boondoggles in American history. This federal agency was created just five short years ago and today boasts nearly 100,000 employees (at darned good wages) and regularly forks over billions of taxpayer money. It's quite easy to question much of their spending.
Granted, following Sept. 11 our nation had to respond in an effort to protect us against terrorists. And the formation of this massive federal bureaucracy is how our government responds. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that the billions being spent on homeland security has quickly become a cash cow. At present, there is no end in sight.
But now there's a move under way to grant collective bargaining rights to the 45,000 airport screeners in a test of the union movement's new strength with a Democrat-controlled Congress.
Most security experts are voicing strong concerns over the prospect of collective bargaining rights for something as sensitive as airport security. The screeners' boss said that the proposal would add "bargaining, barriers and bureaucracy to an agency on whom travelers depend for their security." And he's right.
Only in America would we debate the wages, benefits and hours of those charged with protecting our lives from terrorists. It's not as if the airport screeners are underpaid or overworked. This proposal is all about the payback from Democrats for their friends in the union movement. To argue otherwise is to ignore the truth.
I am more than willing to surrender some of my rights for the protection of this great country. I do not see this as an issue of Big Brother wanting to monitor my life in an inappropriate manner. And I want those charged with our protection to be well trained and well compensated for their work. There is no evidence that the current situation is not doing just that.
The way our political process works is quite simple: those who support a candidate or party expect a payback if their efforts are successful. In this case, organized labor is demanding a payback for the success of the Democratic party in last November's election. And when politics and paybacks trump protection, we may be our own worst enemy.