Walter E. Williams

 Let's apply a bit of economic analysis to the TSA. There's little cost borne by the TSA for harassing passengers. Screeners have an eight-hour-a-day job. So if you have to wait in long lines, be harassed and miss your plane, what's it to them, considering the docile passenger response? Many Americans accept the TSA policy, saying that it makes them feel safer. I'd ask those Americans how much safer they would feel seeing an 88-year-old arthritic man, barely able to walk, given the treatment. Asking the question whether every passenger is a security threat is similar to a munitions manufacturer asking whether every hand grenade is good. A munitions manufacturer wouldn't pull the pin on every hand grenade to see if it was a dud. He'd devise a test, otherwise he'd bear huge costs by assuming each hand grenade had the equal probability of being a dud. Similarly, the TSA should devise a test to determine which passenger poses the higher probability of being a security threat. A good start might be to establish passenger characteristics of previous terrorist attacks.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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