Debate continues in Congress over whether airport screeners at major US airports should be federal employees. Currently, screeners are low-paid contract workers with high turnover rates and varied abilities. Clearly, they need better training, better supervision, and higher financial incentives to stay alert in what can be a monotonous job.
Those who argue against adding another 28,000 people to the federal bureaucracy may have a point. But air travelers are demanding tighter screening, and the newly created federal aviation security agency is probably the only way to deliver it. The $1.8 billion cost pales next to the benefit of preventing future terrorist attacks. And most passengers would be willing to pay a suggested minimal ticket fee to underwrite added security.