Or maybe it stands for "Thousands Standing Around."
Under the guise of making us safer, government has greatly expanded its role in airport security.
But according a report released today, we're not very much safer. Since November 2001, there have been 25,000 security breaches in our nation's airports. And these are just the breaches that we know about. A few days ago, a man managed to fly from Boston to Newark with a stun gun.
Like most failed government programs, many people think that the solution is to throw more money at the problem, even though the first version of the TSA spent far more than the private screeners they replaced, and since then the TSA's budget has increased from $4.7 billion in 2002 to $7.8 billion in 2011.
All that extra money gives them more opportunity to do ever more invasive searches and employ people like Nelson Santiago-Serrano, who steal.
He was caught stuffing an iPad in his pants. After he was arrested, he admitted to stealing over $50,000 of electronics while working for the TSA.
Of course, any large security agency will make some bad hiring decisions, and some screeners will search too hard while others don't search hard enough. But a government run organization will do more of that, while spending more, because that's what governments do.
By privatizing airport security, we can make the TSA more accountable. The government can fire a bad private security firm, but government never fires itself. Even the TSA knows that privatization works. Their own leaked study found that private security works at the "same level or better" than TSA screeners. In one test, TSA employees at Los Angeles Airport missed 75% of explosives used by inspectors to test screeners. But San Francisco screeners, who work for a private company, missed only 20%.
Ditch the TSA, and switch to a system that works.