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25/02/2018

US budgetary decisions that go under the rug

  • Gerardo E. Martínez-Solanas
  • Visto: 129

The US Congress could save between 50 and 100 billion dollars by eliminating bad or inefficient government programs. But even an aggresive President like Donald Trump has not succeeded in his announced project to eliminate a range of non-defense programs that the government should not be running, that it runs poorly, or that may be harmful to individuals and society. Vested interest in the US Congress, mainly among Democrats, block most proposals that ultimately go down the drain under the threat to paralize government if the budget is not approved in time. One of them is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), whose demise is argued in the following article.

The TSA is a waste of money that doesn't save lives and might actually cost them.

  • The solution is clear: Airports should kick out the TSA, hire (well-paid and unionized) private screeners, and simply ask people to go through normal metal Huge bottlenecks at airportsHuge bottlenecks at airportsdetectors with their shoes on.

Few post-9/11 security measures have proven as enduring as the creation of the Transportation Security Administration, which effectively nationalized airport security and dramatically increased screening procedures on flights. In a matter of months, flights went from something you could arrive 30 minutes to an hour beforehand and be fine to something you needed to budget two hours for, what with the shoe removal and the liquids and the possibility of a random pat-down.

It's annoying, but it's also worse than annoying. The TSA's inefficiency isn't just aggravating and unnecessary; by pushing people to drive instead of fly, it's actively dangerous and costing lives. Less invasive private scanning would be considerably better.
Why the TSA falls short

The TSA is hard to evaluate largely because it's attempting to solve a non-problem. Despite some very notable cases, airplane hijackings and bombings are quite rare. There aren't that many attempts, and there are even fewer successes. That makes it hard to judge if the TSA is working properly — if no one tries to do a liquid-based attack, then we don't know if the 3-ounce liquid rule prevents such attacks.

So Homeland Security officials looking to evaluate the agency had a clever idea: They pretended to be terrorists, and tried to smuggle guns and bombs onto planes 70 different times. And 67 of those times, the Red Team succeeded. Their weapons and bombs were not confiscated, despite the TSA's lengthy screening process. That's a success rate of more than 95 percent ...

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