TSA Kills

Defenders of the TSA nudie scanners and enhanced pat-downs keep pointing to public opinion polls showing strong support for the new measures. Nate Silver explains that expressing support to pollsters is one thing, bearing that support out in deciding whether or not to fly is something else.

In the past, more cumbersome security procedures have had deleterious effects on passenger demand. A study by three professors at Cornell University found, for instance, that when the T.S.A. began to require checked baggage to be screened in late 2002, it reduced overall passenger traffic by about 6 percent. (You can actually see these effects a bit when looking at the air traffic statistics: passenger traffic on U.S.-based airlines dropped by about 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2002 to the first quarter of 2003 — greater than the usual seasonal variance — even though the economy was recovering and travelers were starting to get over the fear brought on by the Sept. 11 attacks.)

More stringent security procedures, in essence, function as a tax upon air travel, and produce a corresponding deadweight loss.

And not just economic loss. Opting to drive instead of to fly is to opt for a more dangerous form of transportation.

According to the Cornell study, roughly 130 inconvenienced travelers died every three months as a result of additional traffic fatalities brought on by substituting ground transit for air transit. That’s the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year.

If the TSA procedures were nabbing terrorists at a rate suggesting they were preventing anywhere near that many air attack deaths, they might have an argument for the procedures. But there's no evidence for that.

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  • Kristen||

    Yabut...the gubmint can always just make up for lost airline revenues with more bailouts!

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    State mandated policies that are uniformly applied to all industry participants, increase prices, reduce output, and are expensive for upstarts to comply with, and virtually impossible to individually opt out of.

    There's a word that describes such an arrangement. I can't remember... Something like "cart", "cartle", or something like that.

    We're supposed to believe the big airlines don't like this situation?

  • Old Mexican||

    More stringent security procedures, in essence, function as a tax upon air travel, and produce a corresponding deadweight loss.

    I don't subscribe to the "deadweight loss" concept as it presumes to know what people should value more or less, but certainly the extra measures and burdens imposed by the TSA are akin to a tax, that is, the TSA raises the cost of air travel to the point the marginal utility of other types of travel rise, in the eyes of many persons.

  • robc||

    I dont think you understand the concept of deadweight loss. It doesnt have anything to do with what people "should value".

  • ||

    I don't subscribe to the "deadweight loss" concept as it presumes to know what people should value more or less.

    No, you have it entirely backwards. Deadweight loss has nothing to do with "should," it only observes how people change their behavior in response to taxes-- and calls all changes in behavior "bad." Deadweight loss says that taxes that discourage smoking are bad because smokers lose out on something that they clearly valued.

    It's people who presume to know what people should value who don't subscribe to deadweight loss.

  • ||

    But who's to say they don't value the alternative to their choice as well, or that they can only value that one thing? If cigarette taxes go up, it might mean more to buy cigs, but it also means you have more money in your pocket to buy beer with that you didnt spend becuse of the tax. And beer may be just as good as cigs.

  • ||

    roughly 130 inconvenienced travelers died every three months as a result of additional traffic fatalities brought on by substituting ground transit for air transit. That’s the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year.

    No kidding.

    But people still look at me like I'm the terrorist when I say, "The TSA has killed more people than they have saved."

  • Almanian||

    P Brooks, why do you love the terrorists so?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    The answer is obvious. He's clearly a racist.

    And almost certainly a fucking tea-bagger.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    It's only non-sheeple types who die though. So that is a net gain by government-type calculations.

  • Jeff P.||

    A 737 can hold 130 people, so who are in the other three?

  • Old Mexican||

    The ones that missed their flights because of the new TSA rulez...

  • Almanian||

    Hiyo!

  • Kristen||

    130 every three months. That's 130 x 4 (12 months ina year).

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    buy me a coke

  • Jeff P.||

    Me no smart. Thanks.

  • ||

    911 times a 1000!!!!

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    "roughly 130 inconvenienced travelers died every three months"

  • Kristen||

    I was gonna say "I'm first!", but then I saw our times were the same. Dammit.

    You'll have to settle for a Pepsi.

  • dennis||

    Read the article, it's 130 people every three months, the equivalent of four 737s a year.

  • dennis||

    dammit!!!

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Too slow

  • ||

    Has anyone mentioned that it's 130 every three months, or each quarter?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    But what I want to know is how often, or how many times a year, a 737 would have to crash to equal then umber of people killed on the highways due to avoiding travel because of the TSA searches.

    Anybody know that? Huh? Anyone?

  • Wind Rider||

    Jim does! How many 757s? Show your work.

  • Ben||

    Using 2005 traffic fatality data, it would take 15 9/11's every year.

    I know the 9/11 deaths were primarily on the ground, but you get the gist.

  • Old Mexican||

    By the way, I love that poster.

  • ||

    Who knew that Lady Liberty was soooooo fuckin hot?!

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    If you like the thick thighs, I guess.

  • Wind Rider||

    The big, fullsome mom-breasts more than make up for them.

  • Kristen||

    But what about the granny panties? My ex's obssession with thing underwear indicates men no like granny panties.

  • Ted S.||

    "thing" underwear? :-p

  • Fake Name||

    Can we please please please have a larger size version of the thumbnail photo?

  • ||

    This morning Pistole proudly announced that the new screening techniques have been catching people trying to conceal illegal drugs.

    Yelling "But that's not your fucking job!" at the teevee didn't really make me feel any better.

  • Kristen||

    Can I get a linky? I'd like to send this to some folks

  • Bingo||

    So the TSA has become the ubiquitous checkpoints of every drug warrior's wet dreams. And no pesky 4th Amendment to worry about either. I'm suddenly very much in doubt that the policy will ever change.

  • ||

    Maybe drug traffickers shouldn't try to use the airlines to traffic their drugs. Set up their own supply train and stop using a private companies transportation to traffic your illegal wares. Or at least give them some cash for doing you the solid of getting your heroin from point a to b.

  • ||

    Do you think you have a 4th amendment right to transport illegal drugs through an airline you don't own?

  • ||

    Aww the poor drug dealers who hid the drugs in their trunks and didn't pay the airlines to transport their drugs now is inconvenienced and has to find other ways to get their drugs to their destination. How about driving?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Suddenly?

    I had hope for about 4 seconds before I realized I didn't vote for Obama.

  • jasno||

    Open-carry advocate strips to his bike-shorts to avoid molestation - ends up arrested:
    http://www.signonsandiego.com/.....t-san-die/

  • Bingo||

    A TSA supervisor and San Diego Harbor Police asked Wolynak to put his clothes back on "so he could be properly patted down," says his attorney.

    lmfao

  • Wind Rider||

    Daily Caller pointed out a better one - Pr0n star in Seattle strips to see through undies, told to put jacket back on - vid link is listed as NSFW, but it's fairly PG. And gets really boring after she sheds the clothes. Like most pr0n, I guess.

  • ||

    They wouldnt have to be patted down if they went through the open body screening. If they are going to strip naked in front of everyone, what was the problem with going through the screening again?

  • jasno||

    Does anyone know the rules for protesting at airports? I have some family flying in for the holidays and I'm wondering if I can get away with holding a sign while I wait for them outside security.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Rule #1: be prepared to get arrested.

  • NoVAHockey||

    No kidding. As much as making a political statement is appealing, marching into the detention area is not what I had in mind.

  • pmains||

    What if you hand your molester a pocket Constitution with the 4th Amendment highlighted? I know, the crybabies at the TSA have gotten Congress to criminalize hurting their precious feelings, but maybe that is un-confrontational enough to not be a Thoughtcrime violation.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    That will get you a blue-gloved proctological exam, followed by arrest.

  • ||

    From Jasno's link:

    A TSA supervisor and San Diego Harbor Police asked Wolynak to put his clothes back on "so he could be properly patted down," says his attorney.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    Also from Jasno's link -

    Harbor Police took Wolanyk away and have charged him with refusing to complete the security process at the airport and attempting to record the events on his iPhone, according to Davis.

    "Harbor police also confiscated his iPhone and the video camara used by his companion, who was also charged with unlawful recording within the airport without permission," said Davis. [bold added]

    Our overlords are camera shy.

  • ||

    Just came across this:

    Instant phone video upload

  • Yonemoto||

    Hehe, Sam's a good friend of mine.

    Just to be devil's advocate. How many of those highway deaths are long distance travellers and how many are stupid teenagers?

  • ||

    ... and how many involve 4 Loko?

  • ||

    Kristen- he (Pistole) was on Morning Joe.

  • Kristen||

    Got something reasonable - thanks!

  • Kristen||

    OK - I'll see if I can find some kinda transcript or somethin

  • ||

    http://www.slate.com/id/2275681/

    William Saleton one why anyone who doesn't comply is letting the terrorists win. Remember all of this government cocksucking in 2012 after the Republicans win and cocksuckers like Saleton start talking about the rise of fascist America again.

    Police states are only bad to these people if they are not the police.

  • ||

    why do you love the terrorists so?

    I admire their ruthless efficiency; like Tom Sawyer painting Aunt Polly's fence, they easily outfox others into doing their dirty work.

  • ||

    Actually they are nothing like that. They are lazy scum. They haven't outfoxed anyone. It doesn't take any brains to build a bomb kill blow yourself up in a crowded market. Any place they have run into people who could defend themselves they have been quickly dispatched. And the only reason they succeed at anything is through blind luck or the impunity that comes with fanatical willingness to die.

    There is nothing to admire about them. They don't even count as human beings. They are just vermin to be hunted down and exterminated along with anyone who anyone who sympathizes with them or shares their ideology.

  • Lowdog||

    No, they're human...they just have a much, much different view of the worth of their own lives, as well as the lives of others.

    Let's not resort to the "they're not human" thing...

  • SFC B||

    I think he's referring to "the terrorists" wily plan of using unsuccessful bombing plots to cause Americans to lose their fucking minds and happily give up previously cherished liberties, while also degrading ourselves.

  • ||

    I have family on the Left Coast and plan to visit them one day. I hear Portland, albeit a hot-bed of lefty-liberal sympathies, is quite the place for good food and even better beer. Plus, I can get Fat Tire there, which I hear is awesome and not to be had east of the Mississippi, even via mail order (which is illegal in the People's State of NJ anyway).

    I plan to drive despite the statistically higher chances of dying. I just can't fathom having myself, DH, and two DDs under age 3 being electronically or digitally violated just to fly to Portland.

    Flying would be more convenient, but a part of me just wants, nay, NEEDS, to resist this type of treatment at the hands of people to whom I would not give a passing grade in sophomore English. If the TSA is the ultimate power-trip for people who would otherwise be living on the dole, I will take a cross-country drive any day to avoid contact with them.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Shit, everything is illegal in NJ.

  • ||

    Fat Tire is a Colorado beer, for your information. If you like your beer to taste malty and caramelly-sweet, I suppose it's what the doctor ordered. I personally avoid the stuff, though. There are much better beers to be had, and you should go for the local stuff there in Portland.

  • robc||

    Also, its available east of the Mississippi, unless Indiana has moved recently.

  • Brett L||

    They have limited distribution in the East. Not in FL, but I've heard they have it in GA. Wouldn't be surprised to find out it isn't in NJ either.

  • dmoynihan||

    Dude, Fat Tire's in Fucking Walmart. Or go hit that TotalWine in Cherry Hill.

  • ||

    If you're going to be in Portland for a limited period of time, don't waste your time on Fat Tire if you have the chance to partake of Deschuttes, particularly the Black Butte Porter.

  • ||

    Widmeer is the big brewery in Portland. And they made some fine stuff.

  • Abdul||

    This beats the bike-shorts guy and the smoking hot Lady Liberty backscanner.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010.....oing/iBag+(Boing+Boing)
    DIY pornographer films self getting patdown.

  • Wind Rider||

    Gets kinda boring after the schlub tells her to put her coat back on. Unless florescent lights trip your trigger.

  • Mike M.||

    I see a booming market ahead for the private aircraft industry.

  • ||

    Greetings Earthlings:

    The TSA Program to Examine Random Voyagers (PERV) is attracting lots of seedy characters for screener positions.....SHOCKING details at:

    http://spnheadlines.blogspot.c.....ty_19.html

    Peace! :-)

  • ||

    There was an SNL sketch in 1992 with Sharon Stone in it where a couple of guys were working airport security (Kevin Nealon being one, I think). They keep deliberately setting the detector off to get Sharon Stone to keep removing items of clothing.

    I can't find the video.

  • jacob||

    I remember that episode. Pearl Jam was the musical guest.

  • ||

    I see a booming market ahead for the private aircraft industry.

    Expect the New York Times to publish a gurgling mash note to the TSA from kindly old Grandpa Buffett thanking them for tripling revenues at Netjets valiantly saving so many Americans from Teh Terruh.

  • ||

    Madbiker-

    Beer:

    Forget Fat Tire.

    Try Full Sail (which, I believe is a local Portland brewer).

    Also, try Red Tail Ale (a Northern California brew which is probably available in Portland.

    These choices reflect my personal taste YMMV.

  • creech||

    Full Sail is brewed in Hood River, OR.
    Great tasting room and restaurant overlooking the Columbia River and the parasailing capital of the world.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    NEOPHYTES!

    Everyone knows the best beer is in Denver, where the TSA is triple diligent. Fat Tire requires YOUR SOUL!!!!

    "I donna think it means what you thinka it means"

  • ||

    Why would you blame the TSA for the deaths on highways? The TSA doesn't demand that people fly and they aren't obligated to drive. They don't have to go anywhere but do so by choice. So it's their choice that dicates whether there is an increase in deaths not the TSA's action. You could also blame bright sunny days for increased driving deaths or family days for increased deaths. And if the tax on the airlines produces fewer people in airlines, you could similarly blame that tax on less airline traffic or shorter lines at airlines. Again, why blame the TSA for any of this? We got it you hate Obama and the child molesters at the TSA who just want to grope and molest your kids, so now you're going to blame incidental deaths on their every actions which don't suit you.
    I say, if youre about personal responsibiity don't blame the TSA for you drving it's yoru choice. There are more deaths when there is more traffic beause people die more often the more people are on the roads. You know that there will be more traffic and drive any way YOU are responsible. Not the TSA.

  • adam||

    You guys are making the wrong argument. This is the Obama administration, so we have to argue in terms of carbon footprint? So, how much more co2 gets put in the air when people avoid flying and drive because TSA searches?

  • JB||

    Just add up the hours lost each year to TSA. Millions upon millions of hours. It's probably around 1,000 human lifetimes that are lost each year.

  • Chris Conover||

    TSA's budget this year is $7.8B. As a rough rule of thumb "a community whose income rises by about $10 million can expect about one fewer death." [http://www.reg-markets.org/admin/pdffiles/hlv.pdf]

    The diversion of $7.8B in resources away from communities and into TSA is merely a transfer, but at the margin, every dollar of federal taxes has a deadweight loss of about 44 cents on the dollar.
    http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=12470
    Thus, TSA's 2010 budget produced deadweight losses (i.e., lost income) to the tune of $3.4B, resulting in a hidden loss of roughly 340 lives (above and beyond any highway or other deaths that might be attributed to TSA).

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