The Blind Leading the Blind

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The Rand Corporation published a report last week that makes the same point Dr. Tim Kern did for the Mises Institute, and only six years ago, too: the TSA costs us far more than its obvious price-tag of roughly $8 billion annually.

But because The Rand Corp has spoken, the corporate media listened this time. And is duly publicizing Prof. Kern’s insight.

Chief among the TSA’s enormous extra expenses are “state and local police placed at airports, the amount of time spent by travelers to pass through long security lines, and the economic impact of new counterterrorism mandates placed on private corporations.”

Naturally, the media sought “security expert” Bruce Schneier’s opinion of Rand’s report (yep, I have a problem with Bruce, and here it is: He very occasionally concedes that the TSA violates the Constitution and basic decency; usually, his criticism centers on whether the TSA “works.” And since it doesn’t, the corporate media bills him as a “longtime critic” of the agency. But if sexually assaulting folks somehow did protect planes, Bruce would be all for it. His pragmatism isn’t as nauseating as the toadie who dubbed the TSA’s molestation “freedom fondles,” but still…). And so Mr. Security Expert observed that “businesses have an incentive to consider such costs, such as cash-register wait times and how much consumer loyalty would be lost by installing security cameras in dressing rooms. But, he said, government officials are afraid of the political consequences of a terror attack occurring after a seemingly wasteful or controversial security measure was removed. ‘Businesses do it all the time,’ Schneier said of cost-benefit analyses. ‘Why should the TSA be any different?’”

Ah, duh.

But that isn’t the only unwitting call for booting the Feds out of aviation’s security so that private industry can handle it as unobtrusively and effectively as it does in retail, restaurants, cyberspace, and elsewhere. “The magnitude of risk that terrorism poses to the aviation industry never has been well understood, according to the report, so it’s difficult to determine how successful one security measure is over another. It’s also difficult to know how much the additional security officers, costly baggage screening machines and controversial X-ray body scanners have meaningfully contributed to improved safety, or whether some other factor played a role that was never considered. … It also remains difficult to determine just how much Americans are paying for airline security beyond the $6.5 billion [sic] spent annually by the Transportation Security Administration.”

Yo, Rand: the phrase you’re hunting is, “Entrepreneurs, whose livelihoods depend not only on protecting customers but also on pleasing them, should replace incompetent, careless bureaucrats. Free the industry of aviation from its federal stranglehold. Abolish the TSA.”

Ha! The Rethuglicans will sooner nominate Ron Paul than the Rand Corp. admit the State’s illegitimacy and fraudulence.


8:25 am on August 30, 2012