Dan Gilmore / May 19, 2016

TSA Stands for Terminally Slow Agency

No private company would be allowed to fail like this.

Memorial Day weekend is coming, and with it the beginning of the summer travel season. And the Transportation Security Administration is the headache in your vacation plans. Recently, the screening lines in major airports have become unbearable. Some 4,000 passengers at Chicago O'Hare International Airport missed their flights because they were waiting for hours in TSA security lines. About 400 of them missed their flights in the last weekend alone. As every bureaucracy is wont to do when confronted with ineptitude, the TSA blames Congress’ budget cuts. According to the TSA’s numbers, the number of TSA agents declined while passengers rose since 2011. Combined with a social media campaign, the pressure is on Congress to fix the problem.

But the TSA hasn’t exactly been frugal with its resources. The agency recently spent $1.7 million on marketing, money on new uniforms and even a female hologram to manage passengers. This doesn’t sound like an agency that’s cutting costs to focus on its mission — a mission it’s performing poorly, by the way. Last year, a Department of Homeland Security audit found that the TSA could not detect threats 95% of the time. As Investor’s Business Daily rhetorically asks, “If a private company wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, hired workers who failed to do their job 95% of the time, and then forced people to wait in line for hours, how long do you think they’d be in business? So why is the TSA being treated any differently?” IBD adds, “It’s almost as if the nation’s airports have turned into mini-Soviet Unions, where instead of waiting for bread, people stand in line for hours to be poked and prodded.”

To better serve the American people, Congress should abolish the agency and re-outsource the security duties to private companies. No private company would be allowed to fail like this. Only the government is too big to fail.

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