Today I want to deal with a specific part of our federal government’s policy, specifically relating to how we keep the friendly skies, as well as other modes of transportation, safe for consumers in the United States.  This posting is in direct response to this story I saw today.

The first part of any reform to the transportation safety is to consolidate all national transporation administrations, like the TSA, FAA, NTSB, and others, into one single administrative structure to oversee and enforce federal laws relating to transportation safety.  This would be done through a law passed by Congress.  The consolidation of these agencies into one would cut down on the overlapping jurisdictions, and staffing of separate agencies that essentially do the exact same things just with slightly narrow or specific jurisdictions. 

The benefits the the U.S. citizen for this reform would be decreased federal spending on repetitive administrations and agencies.  Also many federal employees would be laid off, which could seek employment in the private sector.  Those left would be the most qualified to investigate, test, and enforce laws in our national privatized transportation network.

Secondly, I would authorize, through this new law, the complete elimination of the U.S. government from providing security for airports, trains and other modes of transportation inside the United States.  The law would require that the private airports and/or airliners provide for their own security.  The newly consolidated Transportation Safety Agency would serve to test these companies to make sure their security is up to snuff and provide the data to the consumers.  This alone would eliminate hundreds of thousands of government workers and free up federal money to be used elsewhere.  I am not sure if I would get rid of the federal air marshals but I would definitely provide in the law for passenger airliners to authorize individuals to be company air marshals on any and/or all flights. 

There are both costs and benefits for this reform.  The costs would include the individual airports providing security by charging their carriers additional fees to use that airport, which would get passed on to the consumer.  Or if the individual carriers were to provide the security at their own gates this cost would also be passed upon to the consumer.  The benefit would be that customers could choose which carrier to use, that they feel is the most security conscious.  Just like consumers have voted with their dollars with all the fees many carriers are implementing to stay in the black.  The other benefit is that passengers with a history in the company may be able to bypass security altogether since they have a good security record.  It also places the safety of passengers on the head of the airline companies.  If something goes wrong its their problem, not a problem with the government; the government makes enough mistakes as it is this would remove them from the equation.

Thirdly, in conjunction with the CIA, FBI and other agencies responsible for federal criminal investigations and apprehension, I would make available the entire no fly and terrorist watch list to the passenger airliners to cross check their passenger manifests against.  If someone gets flagged they can do several things.  One, alert the authorities of when and where they intend to fly so they may be apprehended.  Two, they could allow them to fly but request that a federal air marshal be on the flight for the safety of all individuals.  Third, they could allow greater scrutiny on that passengers security check before boarding the flight.

The benefits of this are super enormous.  As we found out on Christmas Day the system to stop terrorists from traveling to the U.S. is to cumbersome to work fast enough to stop the Crotch Bomber.  If individual airlines working inside the U.S. had access to this information they could instantly disqualify a person from flying on their planes.  Another thing they could do was put them up to greater security scrutiny before letting them fly on their private airline.  People could scream all they want about discrimination but its the right of the company to determine who they do business with and how they do business with them (We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.).  Also, it side steps the fourth amendment of unreasonable search and seizures without probable cause since it is a private company and not the government. 

On a side note, I think some of the security measures in airports are a violation of our fourth Amendment rights.  How can it be seen as reasonable for an individual like myself to be search like he is going to commit a crime on a plane.  Its the job of the government to show probable cause before they search an individual; there is no search before that time.  It should be the job of the companies and the government to work together to identify those people who should be search based on probable cause.  A person who is on the no fly list has enough probable cause to be search before boarding a flight.  Just another way our freedoms are slowly being taken away from us. 

Fourth, any lawsuit brought against a passenger airline or transportation company would be granted exclusive jurisdiction in the federal courts.  There would also be legal limits on the amounts that would be paid out in any successful lawsuit.  The benefit here brings tort reform to one specific area.  Also, since some modes of travel cross state lines, that would grant the federal courts jurisdiction over any such case.

That is all I have for today’s post.  I would love to see your comments on this topic.  Have a great day.