Archive for June 6th, 2011

My good friend Veronique de Rugy of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University did a very illuminating interview with Bloomberg about the serial inaccuracy of government fiscal forecasts.

Veronique uses health care as an example, giving particular attention to the Medicare program. One obvious implication is that we should have zero faith in the White House’s estimates for the cost of Obamacare.

Indeed, that was the main point of a video I did, which tore apart the Administration’s absurd claim that a giant new entitlement program would lower costs.

Also keep in mind that the same principles operate on the tax side of the fiscal ledger. This Laffer Curve tutorial has all the details.

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I used to have lots of posts about TSA inefficiency and stupidity, but then I got discouraged and stopped. It seemed pointless to discuss the issue when there was no hope for improvement.

I still think that’s the case, at least so long as Obama is in the White House and acting as a toady for the union bosses, but I’m somewhat encouraged by a new study from the House Transportation Committee. Here’s part of a report from KTVU.

The federal government could save $1 billion in the next five years without sacrificing security by replacing federal airport screeners with private screeners, Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, said Friday. …a four-month study by his staff showed that private screeners are 65 percent more efficient then government screeners and could save taxpayers “at least 42 percent.” …Currently, 16 airports have opted out of the federal airport screening system and use private screeners who work under federal supervision. …Mica’s study, released Friday, compares checkpoint operations at Los Angeles International Airport, which uses federal screeners, with those at San Francisco International Airport, which uses private screeners. It concludes that the government spends $4.22 screening each passenger in Los Angeles, versus $2.42 at San Francisco. San Francisco screeners were 65 percent more efficient, screening 16,113 passengers on average last year, compared with 9,765 in Los Angeles. San Francisco also had significantly lower recruiting costs, training costs and attrition.

You won’t be surprised to find out, however, that the Administration is blocking more airports from using more efficient private screeners. Here’s another passage from the article.

In January, Pistole firmly sided with those favoring government employees in the screener role. Pistole put the brakes on expansion of privatization of the screener work force, saying he did not see “any clear or substantial advantage” to allowing other airports to privatize their screener work force. But Mica and several airports are contesting that decision, saying that private screeners are more effective and provide better service. “TSA employees frequently have no concern for customer service,” Shawn Schroeder, acting director of aviation at Springfield-Branson National Airport in Missouri, wrote to the House committee. “We feel participating in the (private screening program) will increase screening efficiency and flexibility, and improve the customer service experience.”

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