The federal government should privatize bag screening security at airports.
After all, ABC News reports that the Transportation Security Administration fails up to 80 percent of security tests.
This revelation, the frequent delays that passengers face at airport checkpoints, and the cost that the TSA imposes on taxpayers all show an urgent need for reform. The cost consideration is critical here. That's because the Trump administration has requested $7.6 billion in TSA appropriations for 2018, of which passenger screening accounts for $5.1 billion.
If we can reduce those costs while improving security, we should do so.
Another benefit to cost savings would be in obviating this year's plan to raise the security fee charged to each passenger from $5.60 to $6.60. While that might seem like a small amount, it adds to the marginal cost of flying and thus reduces the economic incentives for that mode of travel.
Moreover, the benefits of privatizing screening services would be threefold.
First, local airport authorities could approach security companies to tender the best contract offers. The best TSA officers would also be able to set up their own security screening companies and adopt best practices.
Second, security companies would employ the right number of security officers and drive up efficiency savings.
Third, the TSA could undertake its security testing responsibilities and terminate contracts with companies that fail to deliver high standards.
Some say that privatization would be dangerous, but they neglect the fact that this model is the norm across much of the world. In Europe, which faces a far higher airport terrorist threat concern than America, private screeners have a high success rate.
The TSA should still have responsibility for air travel safety, but its focus should be redirected towards concerns such as the provision of air marshals and threat assessments.