Time to abolish the TSA?
The problem isn't that TSA has bad practices, the problem is that the TSA exists.
My Forbes.com article proposing that we abolish the TSA has gotten a surprising amount of attention; it’s up to almost 70,000 views with over 3,000 Facebook shares and 500 tweets. Not bad for an article that’s about 18 hours old. Here are a couple of additional thoughts to further the conversation:Skip to next paragraph
This is the institutional blog of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and many of its affiliated writers and scholars commenting on economic affairs of the day.
In Pictures Airport security
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1. Airport security is necessary. I repeat: airport security is necessary, just like security just about anywhere is necessary. Just because it’s necessary doesn’t mean that government has to provide it. But why?
2. The Knowledge Problem is Everywhere. Abstracting from invaded privacy and the like, the fact that airports and the TSA are government-owned and therefore not responsive to profit and loss signals means that they don’t have the information they need if they are going to make rational decisions about the kind of security that will be provided. In short, socialization eliminates calculation. If I may self-promote, I raise some of these issues in my review of G.A. Cohen’s Why Not Socialism?, which will appear in The Freeman. To whet your appetite, here’s David Gordon’s review.
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3. Institutions Matter. Several people have pointed out (correctly) that most of the people who work for the TSA are courteous and professional. That has definitely been my experience. Most of the people I have dealt with in TSA security lines have been very courteous and very professional. When my luggage has been searched, they have generally been careful with it. They have also been careful to let me know exactly what they are doing. When I lost my passport in Italy last month, pretty much everyone I dealt with from the US Embassy, the Italian police, and airport security in Milan, Amsterdam, and Memphis was courteous, professional, and helpful. You’ve probably read horror stories about TSA sexual assaults, to be sure, but I’m not convinced they are representative. I can’t stress this enough: in my experience, and in what I would guess is the experience of most travelers, TSA employees are almost always nice people who are just doing their jobs.