Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why TSA Should not be Government Employees

When the Department of Homeland Security was created the D.C. left wing bureaucracy saw a great opportunity to swell the ranks of government unions and the size of government. All of the ports and airports in the country hired private security contractors to ensure the safety of travelers. That clearly wouldn't do. In a stunning takeover of private industry, the government created a new bureaucracy and an army of workers forced to join government unions.

I believe that this places travelers at much greater risk and provides a much lower level of service. Why? Accountability.

It is virtually impossible to fire government union workers, no matter how egregious their behavior. They know that once they get hired they have a sinecure for life. Plus, they know that their wages, job security, and often promotions are not based on merit. It doesn't matter if you do a good job or bad job, all that matters is seniority.

A system like this inevitably leads to a significant portion of workers who are lazy, arrogant, and have no fear of negative repercussions for providing poor customer service. In a private system if a security agent is rude to a traveler, a complaint goes to a private employer. If that private employer gets too many complaints about too many offended travelers, that airport or port is going to start looking for another security company. The same is true of passenger safety. Today if an airport worker fails a security test by allowing a fake bomb through a checkpoint, their job is not at risk. They might get a reprimand, but they aren't going to get fired or get a pay cut. With a private security firm, if somebody is doing a crappy job screening they can be shown the door much more easily.

But one of the things that pains me the most is the sheer arrogance and punitive nature of Immigration, Customs, and TSA agents. The story below is a perfect example. A cruise ship of elderly British tourists docks in LA. Everybody on the ship has been screened multiple times. One of the tourists complains about TSA officiousness. The TSA replies by hugely ramping up security checks on the old folks. Pure retribution and pettiness. Our burgeoning government is weakening our nation.


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