Obama's choices

As the dreaded Sequester begins, we are in an age of trade-offs. Consider this shocking number: Housing 500 Federal Prisoners for five days is the same as operating Air Force One for just one hour.

Here are the numbers:

  • Operating AF1 per hour was $181,757 in 2010.
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons per capita cost was $71.49 per day in 2011.
  • Split that in 24 hours, it's a poor $2.97 per hour per federal prisoner.
  • AF1 hourly cost covers you 61,018 criminals per hour behind bars.
  • The cost of 500 federal prisoners is only $1,489.37 per hour.
  • The cost of 500 federal prisoners is only $35,744.88 per day.
  • The cost of 500 federal prisoners per 5.08484 days is... $181,757; the same as AF1 for one hour.

 Indeed, it's an Immigration wing within Homeland Security - not the Bureau of Prisons - that detains illegal immigrants and maybe they do it at a different cost than Prisons, but the point is clear: Housing those 500 for five more days is a joke compared to the Federal Government. Instead of flying around the country burning millions of dollars warning about the sequester, Obama can sign an executive order that all would-be costs of his would-be speeches this week outside DC should be transferred from the Air Force to Homeland to cover its Immigration Enforcement expenses.

 The biggest scam is Homeland's budget for the current FY2013 is higher by a few billion dollars compared to FY2011 and it almost doubled from $31 billion of a decade ok. Correct, Homeland runs many agencies beyond INS, ICE and Customs but its $59 billion budget illustrates that housing 500 people is at a rounding error cost for Homeland.