Monuments to Idiocy

Even by Washington standards, the creation of the TSA was a blunder of colossal proportions. Experts from around the world warned at the time—in 2001—that federalizing airport security would be ruinously expensive, inefficient, and unsafe. Israel and many European countries had already rejected similar systems. But in the frenzy following the September 11 attacks, U.S. senators paid no attention. They weren’t about to let this crisis go to waste. Both parties wanted to look tough on national security, and the Democrats who controlled the Senate were especially eager to gain campaign contributions from tens of thousands of new federal employees. For many in government, the TSA was a twofer: a chance to create a new fiefdom while also blaming someone else for their own mistakes.

The TSA has inspired so much anger this year that officials in New York, Atlanta, and other cities are finally considering a switch to private contractors. That change would be a boon to future travelers, but it won’t come soon enough to make any difference this summer to the huddled masses at TSA checkpoints. The best we can do for them is to erect monuments honoring the politicians who created this mess.

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