Judging by the prevalence of statists among this year’s dismal crop of presidential candidates, people must still believe that Big Government can allocate resources as effectively as the free market. They must not have heard about this:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of the Department of Homeland Security, has spent about $9.8 million to store $44 million in steel that it bought but did not use to build fence along the U.S,-Mexico border, according to a report from the DHS Inspector General.
CPB has in storage about 27,000 tons of “extra steel” that could be used to extend the estimated 650 miles of fencing mandated by Congress along the approximately 2,000-mile long southwest border, according to the IG.
CPB’s incompetence goes beyond buying way too much steel and paying way too much to store it.
The agency “purchased steel based on an estimate before legally acquiring land or meeting international treaty obligations,” reads the IG report. “In addition, it did not provide effective contract oversight during the project: it paid invoices late, did not reconcile invoices to receiving documents, and did not perform a thorough review of the contractor’s selection of a higher-priced subcontractor or document the reasons for its approval of the subcontractor.”
“As a result, Customs and Border Protection purchased more steel than needed, incurred additional storage costs, paid interest on late payments, and approved a higher-priced subcontractor, resulting in additional expenditures of about $69 million that could have been put to better use,” said the IG report.
A private company run by morons of this caliber would only have to pay them half as much, but would quickly go out of business (unless of course it had connections in Washington and was therefore Too Big to Fail). But Big Government doesn’t have to worry about cash flow, since it can always borrow, expropriate, or print more. Even with our current leadership, the federal government might last for several years before the whole mess collapses.
On a tip from Bill T.