The TSA is Bringing Down One Airliner a Month

Here is Timothy Taylor commenting on a study of airport security:

K. Jack Riley considers “Flight of Fancy? Air Passenger Security Since 9/11.” He has been thinking over the time and cost tradeoffs of airline passenger security. “There is very little reason to be concerned about suicide bombers being present on flights originating in the United States. The security improvements noted above—passenger vigilance, cockpit security, and visa screening—go a long way toward preventing radical jihadists from entering the country or, having entered, from being able to commandeer a plane to conduct a spectacular attack. . . . Recognizing the security of flights originating in the United States and thus returning all passengers to the domestic procedures that existed before the recent additions would save, at minimum, about $1.2 billion annually. . . . It would also reduce the deadweight losses that domestic travelers incur from arriving at airports early, waiting in lines, and undergoing intensive scrutiny.” “The current security regime applies the same procedures to all 700 million passengers who board planes each year in the United States. That we have not developed a reasonable way to reduce that inspection workload is perhaps the biggest missed opportunity of the past decade. A trusted traveler program could be configured in a variety of ways.” “Researchers have estimated that the 9/11 attacks generated nearly 2,200 additional road traffic deaths in the United States through mid-2003 from a relative increase in driving and reduction in flying resulting from fear of additional terrorist attacks and associated reductions in the convenience of flying. If the new security measures are generating similar, or even smaller, substitutions and the driving risk has grown as hypothesized, the new methods could be contributing to more deaths annually on U.S. roads than have been experienced cumulatively since 9/11 from terrorism against air transportation targets around the world.”

There are about 22 months between 9/11 and mid-2003, hence our airport security is killing about 100 people per month—roughly the typical passenger load on a Boeing 737.  Robin Hanson would point out that the government is showing that they care.

Here’s a case where security and freedom are aligned.

BTW, even if the actual number is zero, I don’t think the lives saved are worth the hassle at airport security.

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About Scott Sumner 492 Articles

Affiliation: Bentley University

Scott Sumner has taught economics at Bentley University for the past 27 years.

He earned a BA in economics at Wisconsin and a PhD at University of Chicago.

Professor Sumner's current research topics include monetary policy targets and the Great Depression. His areas of interest are macroeconomics, monetary theory and policy, and history of economic thought.

Professor Sumner has published articles in the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, and the Bulletin of Economic Research.

Visit: TheMoneyIllusion

2 Comments on The TSA is Bringing Down One Airliner a Month

  1. Meanwhile, Americans who travel from one part of America to another by plane are subjected to degrading pat downs and electronic surveillance that by no means has been proven medically safe.

    Because some bad men attacked us ten years ago, we created a nanny security state in which poorly trained bottom rung employees of a vast security apparatus are given god-like powers over those poor schlubs who find themselves in need of a plane ride.

    Nothing degrades this nation more than the cowardly ways in which we responded to a one-day flurry of terror.

    Out of fear of terrorism, we opened the doors wide to fascism, and I for one have not boarded an airplane since.

    DHS is nothing more than a conduit through which Congress shovels money to security contractors and the military-industrial complex.

    The entire TSA should be folded up and moved to North Korea!

  2. I will not subject myself nor my family to needless radiation exposure nor TSA molestation. My family and I will not be flying until the TSA changes these procedures. If you are that afraid of terrorists then lock your doors and don’t come out of your house. And when the next would be bomber has a device in a body cavity will we have to submit to a body cavity search?
    Radiation free body scanner. Why doesn’t the TSA use these?

    “They say the risk is minimal, but statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays,” Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at Johns Hopkins University school of medicine, told AFP.”No exposure to X-ray is considered beneficial. We know X-rays are hazardous but we have a situation at the airports where people are so eager to fly that they will risk their lives in this manner”

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