Last Week's TSA Hearing In Congress Was Even Sillier Than You'd Expect
January 20, 2014 at 5:01 PM
Not to beat a particularly stupid dead horse, but just one more thing about that silly hearing that Congress held last week with TSA officials. We've repeatedly covered how the overarching debate over airport security is broken: politicians attack TSA for cutting corners, but those same politicians aren't willing to either change the rules (so there are no corners to cut) or increase the agency's funding (so it wouldn't need to cut corners).
We've already posted on one aggravating part of the hearing, which had Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) declaring that TSA agents don't say "please" and "thank you" enough, and so he's going to write legislation sending them to politeness school. He saw security officers telling travelers to do awkward things like take off clothing, and stand in line, and assume various positions, and he thought it would be better if they were nicer about it. But the problem isn't whether agents are polite when they implement poorly conceptualized and even more poorly executed security policies. It's that the security policies are poorly conceptualized and executed.
It turns out that Connolly was in a race to the bottom with Rep. John Mica (R-FL) over who could produce the most unproductive sideshow at last week's hearings. Connolly had his politeness legislation. Connolly had politeness, but Mica trotted privatization chestnut. He was aggressively dishonest. But privatization is the same kind of nonsense as politeness training, and for the same reason.
Very, very, very bluntly: privatization does not solve the problem with badly designed regulations, because private screeners have to enforce the same regulations as federal secreeners. The privatization debate is a distraction from the real debate over how to keep US airports secure and efficient and fair. Instead of talking about good policies vs. bad policies, we end up talking about whether bad policies should be enforced by federal or private employees.
You guys, if this is how 2014 is starting - starting - we're not sure we're going to make it for another year. It's just getting too batty out there.
[Photo: fox6now / YouTube]