When the TSA was first formed in the comparatively innocent times just after September 11, 2001 (yes, you read that right), it was expressly prohibited that the workforce be unionized. Since then, the number of employees has exploded from 16,500 to 62,500. The amount of abuse travelers put up with has risen exponentially, from pat-downs to porno scanners. And the number of terrorists caught by TSA has… Well, that’s still a big, fat zero.
Nonetheless, TSA Administrator John Pistole, who knows which side his bread is buttered on, has allowed the TSA to go forward with an American Federation of Government Employees union contract. And just when you thought the TSA couldn’t get any worse.
While my views on unions are well-known, I think it bears repeating that this can only end in a disaster for both American travel security and Americans’ wallets.
Consider the example of the teachers’ unions. Since 1970, the cost of educating one student from kindergarten through 12th grade has roughly tripled, from $55,000 to $155,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars. Since 1970, American students have seen no improvement in math and reading, and regression in science scores.
This is because, once unionized, the workforce becomes entirely caught up in labor concerns to the detriment of their actual jobs. Hence, students suffer once the teachers’ unions begin to treat the public school system as nothing more than a jobs bank.
Using the example of history, it is easy to see that unionization of a workforce entrenches the worst elements of that workforce. Efficiency is sacrificed, goals go unmet, poor performers cannot be fired, and consumers bear the brunt of this failure.
Of course, airport security seems important enough that we should want to avoid these things, but no matter. The screeners pressed ahead with their unionization anyway, the public be damned. After all, the attitude of the unions has always been that the public owes them jobs, not that they owe the public a job well done.
Representative Marsha Blackburn has penned a popular piece over at Forbes about her proposed bill, called the STRIP Act, or “Stop TSA’s Reach in Policy” Act.
At a minimum, it would do away with the title Transportation Security “Officer,” and require that TSA agents not wear badges or masquerade as real police officers, which they emphatically are not.
I say this is a good start. TSA has been example one of bureaucratic entrenchment and mission creep over the last decade, and they have made our lives demonstrably worse for it.
While TSA agents’ accomplishments are well-known, like their ability to fail every single audit, and their perfect record of catching zero terrorists, we have to ask – at what cost?
Look, I am all for abolishing the TSA tomorrow, and forgetting about this sorry chapter in American history. (As an aside, can we get rid of the term “post-9/11”? Everything after 9/11 is post-9/11.) But I recognize that getting rid of this wart on society will take measured steps to assuage the fears of the naive and avoid the wrath of the security state and its lobbyists. Rep. Blackburn makes a good point:
Will the STRIP Act solve every problem facing the TSA? Absolutely not. The STRIP Act seeks to expand upon the work of my colleagues by chipping away at an unnoticed yet powerful overreach of our federal government. If Congress cannot swiftly overturn something as simple as this administrative decision there will be little hope that we can take steps to truly rein in the TSA on larger issues of concern.
This is a good start, and I encourage you to write to your Congresscritter to support it.
Don’t know how? Start here: https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
Postal carriers as terrorism fighters? It is official. There are no longer any common-sense limits on the “war” on terror. You see, this is what happens when you let an act of terrorism change your entire social structure.
The point of terrorism is disruption, and I have said before on this blog and elsewhere that police militarization, travel restrictions, global warmongering, and especially the damn TSA are the tangible, direct results of how we have allowed terrorism to affect us. If that is not disruption I am not sure what is. And if that is not evidence that the terrorists won this round, I am not sure what possibly could be.
As if the TSA was not macabre enough, however, now we have the Postal Service getting into the act. Yep, letter carriers are the first line of defense against the statistically insignificant threat of terrorism. And not just in New York and Washington – no, letter carriers will be the first responders to all of the horrific terrorist attacks that we can expect in Benton, Kansas. (Their population has doubled in the last fifty years; look it up!)
Let’s not be silly. Let’s see this for what it really is – a cynical attempt by a bunch of inept government workers to get more funding, more make-work jobs, a greater sense of urgency, and ultimately more power. They saw how well everything worked out for the now-unionizing TSA, and figured they wanted a piece of the taxpayer pie.
I will monitor this story if it develops beyond the point of being absolutely, fundamentally ridiculous. You can save your letter writing campaigns for now.
But remember, the fact that an idea is ridiculous has never stopped the government from implementing it before.
Of course by now, we’re all familiar with the abuses of the TSA, which keeps no one safe yet manages to get much of the populace more or less naked nonetheless. (If you’re not familiar with the TSA, take a look at the website for National Opt-Out Day, which is…today!) I thought that I would inject a lighter note to these proceedings, by linking to a picture that is so full of win, it would be difficult to describe.
Behold: TSA Pedobear!
In case you’re unfamiliar with Pedobear, check him out on Know Your Meme. Disclaimer: I do NOT recommend printing these out and putting them in your luggage. In fact, I would be shocked, shocked, if anybody did that!