There is no empirical evidence that the TSA prevents terrorism
The Transportation Security Administration, a federal agency, is facing a no-show problem with employees, as paychecks are put on hold during the partial government shutdown.
This is reportedly leading to longer lines and security problems at airports nationwide. According to CNN,
Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers, who are required to work without paychecks through the partial government shutdown, have called out from work this week from at least four major airports…
TSA spokespeople, meanwhile, insist everything is completely normal although absenteeism has “increased by 200% to 300%,” according to Marketwatch.
Not everyone was as sanguine about the situation as government officials. One frequent traveler complained “The lines were exceptionally longer than normal, especially for a peak departure time frame of 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.”
Given that the feds admit more employees are skipping work, it’s hard to believe that everything’s humming along normally — unless workers are lowering security standards to get more people through the line quickly.
But, that, of course, is something the feds insist they would never, ever do.
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In any case, the whole affair reminds us of just one of the many pitfalls that come with federalizing airport security and making it all part of one giant, nationwide federal bureaucracy.
TSA screeners are federal employees, and their salaries are paid out of a federal budget — of now more than 7 billion dollars. In fiscal year 2018, more than four billion of the TSA’s 7.5 billion budget came from government appropriations, with the rest coming from fees on passengers and the industry. Since 2017, the Trump Administration has proposed to increasing fees ” to cover 75% rather than 40% of the Transportation Security Administration’s costs.” 1
But even if the Trump Administration were to get its wish, the TSA would still remain a federal agency with federal employees, and a substantial of its budget would still come from federal appropriations.
In other words, the next time there’s a government shutdown, we’d be looking, yet again, at a situation in which the entire nationwide system of airports would be affected because a tiny number of politicians in DC couldn’t agree on a nationwide budget.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Nor were things this way prior to the federalization of airport security in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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