A surprising headline in a mainstream publication, “Time to Close the TSA” hit the Boston Globe yesterday. What makes it unusual is that even the most critical articles about federal programs tend to focus on “reform” or “fixing” some agency or program.  But the truth is, “reform” usually just means “give them more of your money.”

From the article:

Fourteen years after the creation of the TSA, there is still no indication that the agency has ever caught a terrorist, or foiled a 9/11-type plot in the offing. Conversely, there are reams of reports documenting the inability of TSA screeners to spot hidden guns, knives, bomb components, and other dangerous contraband as they pass through airport checkpoints. It’s doubtful that anyone is still capable of being surprised by a fresh confirmation of the TSA’s incompetence — even if members of Congress do sometimes feign alarm for the sake of the folks back home.

Let’s face it: The Transportation Security Administration, which annually costs taxpayers more than $7 billion, should never have been created. The responsibility for airport security should never have been federalized, let alone entrusted to a bloated, inflexible workforce. Former TSA administrator Kip Hawley calls it “a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic” and warns that “the relationship between the public and the TSA has become too poisonous to be sustained.” More tests and more failures won’t fix that. Scrapping the TSA would.

A lot of truth there. But it misses the big point.

Even IF the TSA was “effective” (which is not likely, even in theory), it should never have been created because it’s not authorized by the Constitution.

Until that becomes the motivate on these issues, you’ll continue to see more massive failures like the TSA.

A few years ago, state legislation was being filed to block some of all of the TSA in airports. This was picking up steam until Texas got a no-fly zone warning from the feds and backed down.  Since then, everyone has seemed too frightened to try something in the states. But that’s exactly when things should ramp up still further, because it’s obvious that the tactic will have an effect.  I don’t believe the feds would win in that scenario at all.

Either way, if people will only stand up for liberty when the feds don’t push back, there’s not going to be any liberty left at all.

Michael Boldin

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