Are We Less Safe Because of the TSA?

Occasional contributor to Heels First, Art Carden, wrote an article for USA Today on why TSA doesn’t make us safer.

A TSA agent dons rubber gloves at Washington Reagan National Airport

Check out his article here.

Changes to the Transportation Security Administration’s rules have made it easier for fliers to get through airport security. Even with these improvements, the TSA should be abolished.

Taxing people and spending on homeland security divert money from more cost-effective uses, such as schooling or business-creating private investment. Making flying less convenient gives people incentives to drive, which is more dangerous than flying. Every time I fly, the TSA reminds me that we aren’t good at thinking about risk. Terrorism is vivid but (fortunately) very rare. The money we’re spending on homeland security would be better used elsewhere.

Among his arguments, he makes the case that the TSA actually makes us less safe than if it didn’t exist.

What do you think of that argument?


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. Unfortunately because his argument takes an absolute position (abolishment as opposed to reduced scope) the supporting reasons don’t hold up.

    Looking at the 3 reasons
    1. Just because someone can break a window to get in your car, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lock your doors. There’s no doubt that today the screening process is excessive, but some level of screening is useful and should be done.

    2. Most travelers I’ve met feel that it’s the airlines that have made the travel experience so bad. My mom complains about cramped seats and being nickel and dimed when talking about having her come to visit, nary a mention of the TSA. That said I do know that for some, the screening experience is considered when deciding the fly/drive question. However if screening was similar to pre 9/11, those concerns would be drastically reduced, again no need to flat out abolish the agency.

    3. The TSA is a small portion of the overall DHS budget, roughly 12% and has been on a decline year over year. As a comparison, ICE is at 9% and CBP is 22%. Further a portion of the TSAs budget are grants to various airports to do things like upgrade their security camera and alarm systems, which provide benefits beyond what the TSA is normally associated.

    So no, abolishing the TSA entirely won’t have the benefits he thinks and it won’t make us safer.

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