Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our 100th Post! A short TSA rant/story.

Here's a way to cut a few billion a year from the Federal Budget:  Eliminate the TSA.  It is completely useless.  In fact, it is worse than useless, it is counter productive.  It creates long lines, interferes with air travel and by extension it interferes with almost all non-local business.  It is a big, big drag on the economy.

Here's a simple exercise.  There are 5170 public airports currently operating in the United States.  59 million airline passengers flew just through LAX last year, and LAX isn't even the busiest airport in the country.  That honor belongs to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.  There are at least 18 airports that move more than 30,000,000 people a year.

There are roughly 1,000,000,000 uses of public airports each year.  The TSA advises that you arrive at your airport at least two hours before your scheduled flight.  Before the TSA, the common wisdom was to arrive one hour before a domestic flight.  That's one billion extra-man hours wasted at the airport as a direct result of the TSA's mere existence.  Assuming an average income of all flyers of about $20 per hour, that is $20,000,000,000 disappearing from our economy every year without even adding in the cost of the TSA bureaucracy.

And of course, they accomplish nothing.  This is not an exaggeration.  The TSA has not originated any competent evidence of a terror attack ever.

What they did do, however, is nearly cause my colleague and I to miss a flight home because he had forgotten that he had a bottle of water in his briefcase after a grueling day in court.  And as they stopped the long security full of scowling faces to call over a supervisor for a bag check, all I could think of was the pop-tarts in my bag that had passed through the metal detector with nary a beep, or the time my friend was permitted to bring a bow-and-arrow as a carry-on because it wasn't on the security list.  I believe my pop-tarts could have done more harm than my colleagues bottle of water.  I know the bow and arrow would have.

Then, suddenly I had this image of my colleague, a neatly groomed, educated, white man in a business suit, grabbing his bottle of contraband H2O and holding it over his head while screaming menacingly, "I've got a bottle of water, and I'm not afraid to use it!" Those who know me know that I find it hard to resist articulating these funny thoughts when they come to me.  But I didn't until we were well past the TSA agents ... only because I was afraid that I would be detained for my joke and miss my flight.