Saturday, September 16, 2006

Spending too much the wrong way on the wrong things

Veronique de Rugy"U.S. airline security measures provide a good example of the federal government’s approach to balancing risk. The likelihood of an attack similar to those we suffered on 9/11 has been reduced to roughly zero with simple cockpit barricades, which the airline industry installed at relatively low cost. Yet since then we have spent $34 billion on a system for screening every bag belonging to every airline passenger. If you add to that cost the aggregate opportunity cost, likely in the billions, incurred by passengers for the extra hours at the airport, you end up with a huge bill for an agency which measures its success by having 'intercepted seven million prohibited items at airport checkpoints, including just over 600 firearms.' In other words, 99.992 percent of intercepted items are tweezers, breathe fresheners and lighters." —Veronique de Rugy

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