If you’ve kept up with the latest news on air travel, you know that citizens now fact the prospect of living in the age of government in our pants. Ivan Isorio, of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, says that as a government bureaucracy, the TSA can’t help but be annoying.
That’s because a top-down, no-exceptions, no-common-sense approach is in the DNA of government bureaucracies. Max Weber, one of the founding fathers of sociology, made a similar observation. The book Busting Bureaucracy (note, I haven’t read it) lists 7 principles of bureaucracies, based on Weber’s work.
One other factor about the TSA needs to be considered, and it’s the most obvious one: It’s a unit of government. As such, its operations are only weakly influenced by popular demand, which means it’s slow to change. Regulators regulate, often all out of proportion to the risks they seek to control.
Since the TSA has a monopoly on airline “security,” it’s not subject to pressure from people voting with their feet the same way that, say, a popular boycott of a department store. The jobs of the people who direct it and work there aren’t closely tied to satisfying their customers, so poor decisions are “sticky.” It’s time to abolish the TSA and return airline security to the airlines, which employ people who, unlike workers at the TSA, need to satisfy the public to keep their jobs.