Furlough the TSA!
I’ll have a longer piece on the Covid-19 disease in the next few days, but right now I do have one good idea for how to reduce spreading of the virus: furlough the Transportation Security Administration for 30 days.
Think about it. When you go through the airport, you often get touched by TSA employees and your belongings get touched even more frequently. The TSA employees wear gloves to protect themselves but not to protect you. How often do you see them take off their gloves and put on new ones? I used to travel about once a month and I’ve never seen them do it. So those gloves could easily transmit the virus.
The TSA portion is the most dangerous part of your airplane trip. And it could be ended easily if Trump and the Congress really took this seriously.
We already know that the TSA is incompetent in many ways and that the main threats that have been stopped have been stopped by other passengers. (It’s true that the TSA might have stopped threats we don’t know of, but given everything we know about government agencies, do you really think that if they stopped a big threat, they wouldn’t be bragging about it?) You can argue that they stop threats just by being there and so there are attacks that would have occurred but didn’t, and that’s a good argument. But as I’ve said a number of times, 9/11 changed how we passengers will react–that’s the unlearned lesson from United flight #93–and the most important reform that came out of it was not the TSA but the locked doors to the cockpit.
But even if the TSA were competent, the odds that it’s preventing even one major terrorist attack per year are small. There are so many vulnerable places in the United States that terrorists could attack. How about some K-12 school? The fact that they’re not doing so suggests that terrorist threats are not that big.
Meanwhile, if we believe the Covid-19 disease is serious, and I do, then we should act that way and furlough the TSA. My prediction: If we did it for 30 days, there would be zero terrorist attacks on airlines over that time.
HT2 Todd Zywicki.