After the horrific attacks of 9/11, the United States began changing some of the more searing security breaches in the airline industry. Some of these changes, like simply adding an armored door to the cockpit, have been in place in other airlines like El Al for years. However, the sweeping changes in airport security brought on by the 9/11 attacks have also brought misery and more public debt (at a time we cannot afford it), while not proving that such security measures actually work.
The TSA (10+ years into this bloated government program) needs to be revamped from the bottom up. It clearly needs to be privatized because of the heavy-handedness of its employees; they seem to think that since they are employed by the government they can do anything they wish, from stealing personal items from airline passengers to absurd body searches of grandmas and young children. The savings from changing these program would be in the billions of dollars as well. A small percentage of those savings could go to adding 500-1000 armed air marshals on airline flights, and while this is only around 10% of the flights in the air at one time, having SOME police on a plane is proving better than NONE on a plane. We see this is true when crazy people are still allowed onto a plane, freak out and act bizarre, forcing an emergency landing for the airplane's crew. These new federal air marshals would be the ONLY part of the new airport security system still under federal control.
Second, nearly 25% of the savings of scrapping the TSA could go directly to the airlines so that THEY can maintain the security of the airports. It is obvious that private security companies are much more smarter and less aggressive in dealing with customers. This is the primary reason to replace the overbearing and absurd TSA employees with people who have more tact and can deal with security situations more easily. Having 5 year olds on the No-Fly list is a devastating blow to their credibility and reliability of the TSA and would not be followed by a private company.
Third, airlines can manage security options better than federal employees in many areas, including "profiling". Its actually the height of stupidity and absurdity that we search grandmas and kids for bombs when its clear who usually has an airline bomb; men. Reasonable profiling by these private companies wont have the litigation fears that federal employees do. Its time to start acting smarter and do whats right, and stop worrying about offending someone because they may be a terrorist.
Finally, in making these changes, Congress could require that private airlines maintain security at the current level or better of the TSA program. By auditing these airlines security set-ups regularly, we can maintain rigorous security without stupidly handicapping the public. Flying is a privilege, not a right (for most people), so ensuring that the thug employees of the federal government get out of the way and allow screenings to be done smartly is the right thing to do. This simple change will save the US government billions of dollars. And its about time that it be done.