Friday, August 19, 2011

TSA Confiscates Woman's Insulin - An Example of Failed Policy

It's a good thing the TSA is stopping terrorism (Oh and tourism too) -

A pregnant woman had her insulin and ice packs confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration because a screener claimed they were an explosives risk.

The diabetic woman was travelling alone from Denver International Airport to a baby shower in Phoenix when she was questioned by a TSA agent as she went through security.

'He's like, "Well, you're a risk,"' the woman, who did not wish to be named, said. 'I'm like, "Excuse me?" And he's like, "This is a risk ... I can't tell you why again. But this is at risk for explosives."
The Real Effect
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Do we really need an explanation of above? Or do we really despise liberty that much?

To illustrate further, this is what happens with bad policy and government. When bad policy is enacted by businesses and individuals, the public can usually avoid these clowns. However with government, you are compelled to use their policy under force of law. And the consequences of such bad policy are typically not immediately discernable. For instance -
  • Terrorists attack the United States
  • "Do something!" is the clarion cry. The point here is not to punish the terrorists, but to prevent further events. In some cases, this is possible, but rarely is this true.
  • The Transport Security Administration is created. (Quite expensive I might add)
  • The TSA has an incentive to grow larger and have more regulations. (This is where their paycheck comes from) So the TSA grows makes things safer.
  • What is not seen is the micro-hidden cost. To some, the harassment might jeapordize their livelihood, so they find ways around it. To the rest, there is a monetary cost (money) as well other costs. (Loss of time, liberty, scissors)
  • Eventually, the incentive of the policy conflicts with the life of an individual. (Our example above) Sometimes this is able to be worked around, but every so often there is a genuine threat to the life of that person. In this case, what she supposed to do? Give up her medication and pray she makes it? Refuse to give it up? Attack the guard?
No, each individual has an incentive to protect themselves and to this end, we turn the "citizen" on the guard. It is not the guards fault that he is making a living. It is also not the fault of the woman that this policy could cost her her life. But in the end the ones that end up suffering are not the ones who make the rules, but the ones who are affected by them. These individuals are not hard of hearing, they are flat out deaf.

No comments: