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July 31, 2011
"Abolish the TSA" as a Campaign Issue

This is a copy of a piece I posted to Ricochet recently.

Having just done some travelling, I'd like to see some of the presidential candidates get behind this simple proposal:

"Abolish the TSA"

The arguments are compelling:

  • TSA screening operations are a word-for-word literal violation of the fourth ammendment.
  • Contrary to the fundamental principles of the US government, the TSA has no mechanisms of checks and balances, no mechanisms to limit its power, and no mechanisms for the public to redress greviences.
  • TSA policies are completely ineffective. The TSA has never thwarted a terrorist operation, and nobody believes that it ever will.
  • Since the TSA security procedures are spec'd, so would be terrorists know exactly what they need to work around to pull something off.
  • The TSA costs $8 billion per year. And growing.
  • The TSA has been shown to negatively impact general commerce, to be harmful to the airline business, and cause an increase in the use of less appropriate and more dangerous automobile travel as travellers avoid airports.

We still need some form of airplane security, of course, but it should be something that has a chance of being effective.

I'll suggest replacing the TSA with a much simpler system:

"Cops and servicemen fly for free".

This would be a round-robin voucher-based system, with spending limited to 1/10 the current TSA budget. The statistical chance of a police officer or serviceman on any given flight would be pretty high; and the combination of their presence and an alert flying public has a much better chance of taking down any terrorist plan than the TSA ever could.

And right now, with an upcoming election, is the time for candidates to step up. I thing that an "Abolish the TSA" platform would pretty much secure the air traveller vote (maybe about 150 million citizens in the US) at the expense of the TSA worker vote (a little more than 50,000 people).

Posted by DonTillman at July 31, 2011 08:08 AM

Damn straight, Don! TSA is useless political theater masquerading as real security. And sworn cops couldn't get away with the behavior that TSA does. I wonder if 150M Americans could be convinced to part ways with them...? :)

Posted by: Aaron Endelman [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 6, 2011 11:16 PM

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