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June 7, 2012

Do you want to replace the TSA with competitive alternatives?

I just wrote Congress telling them to abolish the TSA.

If you want to do it too, here's what I said…

The TSA has molested, humiliated, terrorized, and detained babies, toddlers, the handicapped, the elderly, and even beauty queens and members of Congress!

And now the TSA's victim list includes economist David Friedman.(

Friedman carefully packed sourdough for use at a convention in which he would conduct cooking classes. When he opened the luggage later the sourdough was spread throughout one end. This could have been an accident. But not the sourdough that ended up inside a zipped electric toothbrush case. That looked like TSA vandalism.

Friedman notes that the TSA could easily reduce both vandalism and pilfering. Just include a note identifying the inspection agent. This would make agents more careful, and less likely to go rogue. Companies do this all the time. We've all seen “inspected by” tags in the products we buy. In fact . . .

Friedman says he's seen this done by a private airline security firm. But the TSA is ten years old, and it still hasn't figured out this basic step.

Here's why. Statism doesn't work.

The State doesn't have actual customers it needs to serve, or competitors to keep it honest. 

Instead, The State just takes money from us, and imposes things on us. Too bad if we don't like it.

Even worse, The State uses its own failure as an excuse to constantly take more of our money.

Not only does The State have few incentives to perform, it actually profits from failure.

So the TSA is a perfect model of The State in miniature. It's a coercive, arrogant, incompetent monopoly.

Of course, the TSA claims that it's just “following orders.” This excuse doesn't work morally, but it does make Congress complicit in the crime. You guys created the “orders.” You made this problem, so you need to fix it.

Be clear about this — No private airline would treat customers the way the TSA does. Instead, they would focus on measures that increase security without molesting people or vandalizing their property.

Airline security was a lousy product when the airports and the FAA monopolized it. Now it's even worse that the TSA has the monopoly. Do it the way it should have been done from the start. Let each airline handle its own security, and compete to offer consumers the best service.

It works for everything else! So take action. Sponsor legislation to abolish the TSA.

Remember, government derives its power from the consent of the governed. You no longer have my consent for the TSA. End it!


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Policy Research Director

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