Waiting for hours just to board a plane? Welcome to government-run security, where you pay double to be treated like an annoyance. Government-run programs are all about lines. Ask anyone who lived under communism. The solution is simple, however…
Ron Paul: Hello everybody, thank you for tuning to The Liberty Report. With me today is Daniel McAdams. Daniel, it’s nice to see you.
Daniel McAdams: Good morning, Dr. Paul.
Ron Paul: Today we would like to visit a subject that is in the news very much, it’s an aggravating thought for anybody who has ever been on an airplane or who contemplates getting on an airplane, and that has to do with the TSA and the long lines. Everybody knew they were inefficient, but somebody had the temerity to actually take a picture of a line that was described as miles long. I guess when you do all the zigzagging, it’s very, very long. The Exasperation! As for the record for the TSA actually protecting us and saving us from any terrorist attack, so far, I think they’re not doing so well. They haven’t come up with any great successes, and we’ll talk a lit bit about their failures, and what we need to do about it. But this problem has been here with us since it was created quickly after 9/11, just like the PATRIOT Act was passed quickly and the law was available with a little tinkering. We passed the PATRIOT Act under these very difficult conditions.
Once again, I remember the debate very clearly on the House floor, they were saying, “We have to have the TSA, if you don’t, you don’t care about safety, you don’t care about the people, you don’t care about we being attacked”. Of course, we fought it, but we weren’t very successful, because the whole argument was, if we need a little bit more security in our airlines, and obviously we do, should we continue to depend on the federal government? They were already in charge, the FAA was in charge of the security that we did have, because the airlines didn’t want it, they didn’t want to have to have the liability. So the big argument was, what we need to do, of course, from the Left and the Right, (we had a Republican president), was to massively increase not the FAA, but a new department, a department of transportation, the TSA.
That’s the way it went, and the debate was really, is there any reason why we might not be able to at least discuss privatization versus unionization in government bureaucracy. I think you know the conclusion of what happened, we didn’t win the argument.
Daniel McAdams: It’s absolutely right, as you say, nobody wants to talk about this part. During the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the government was already in charge. We already had the CIA which cost us a hundred billion dollars a year, we already had the NSA, the FBI, and all these organizations, that failed. And now we know how many times they failed, when it was so obvious what was happening right under their noses. Whenever the government fails, the people always suffer. This has being building over the last couple of weeks – there have been many videos now, even the Washington Post did a video, and people are using hash tags to describe how much they hate the wait. But it really has increased massively over the past two weeks. American airlines alone have said that about 7,000 of their domestic passengers have missed flights.
Of course, this costs a lot of money to the airlines, and it’s horribly inconvenient to the passengers. But, talking about budget, the TSA blames it on the fact that their budget was slashed and they don’t have enough money, but I was looking before the show, and they got 7.5 billion dollars in 2015, and they’re getting 7.6 billion dollars in 2017.
Ron Paul: Boy, that’s a terrible slash, they’re in trouble. The problem is very clear to me, and those to think about a private property rights organization of a country versus government. But if we have fallacies in our foreign policy, too much occupation and too much bombing and too much droning, and it’s a total failure, and none of the occupations and overthrowing of government works, then what we do is just do more of it, we send more money. If an economy fails, like ours which is in the process of failing and had a deliberate downturn in 2008 – 2009, they don’t change policy, they just pump more money into the people who caused the problem and accelerate it. So here it is, once again, the government had failed, like you mentioned at the beginning, because the government was involved and did not put the burden of responsibility on the airlines. It failed, so they create this monster.
But now it’s failing, the evidence is so clear, they’re talking about how many people are missing flights and how terrible the travel situation is. So what do they want? Now the unions want 6,000 more employees. The government, the Republicans and the Congress have already given 800 more and they’re supposed to be added on here in a couple of months. But that’s not enough, they need 6,000 more. For some reason, I’m not very optimistic that that’s going to be a solution, because it’s the atmosphere, it’s the responsibility, and who’s in charge, and when government is in charge, nobody is in charge. They’re in charge of their bureaucratic life and how do they protect their jobs, and how to blame somebody else when things go wrong, that’s what they’re involved in.
It looks like the people are outraged over this, but the odds, from my opinion, of us actually changing and going in the right direction and saying, “Maybe the model is wrong, maybe this model of saying that the government is responsible for the safety of everybody on an airplane, maybe that’s wrong.” But, right now, as angry as the people are, I’m not sure we have the sentiment of the people, because immediately, the opposition will use scare tactics and say, “Oh no, we did this and we did this, and if anything happens, it will be our fault if we don’t have more help.” So I don’t think the American people are going to come our way, even though they should, and they should listen to the private option. But I’m afraid they’re going to get all the money they want.
The terrorists and the people who like to scare us, will love it. Here we worry about the loss of our liberties, the foreign terrorist’s job is they want to destroy our liberties. But who destroys our liberties, it’s the TSA agents and everybody else with the invasion of our privacy, with the NSA and all this stuff going on. We do it to ourselves, and we never say, “What should the role of government be under these circumstances”.
Daniel McAdams: It’s funny you mentioned those 6,000. This is just classic government math, government numbers. The origin of this crisis was that the TSA anticipated the people would flock to their TSA pre-check program where you would give the government a bunch of information about you, and they would let you go in on a shorter line. Well, surprise, surprise, people are sick of giving the government information about them voluntarily, and especially involuntarily. So, basically, no one showed up for this, no one signed up for it. It was a product that the government introduced, and that product failed. But unlike in the free market, when a government product fails, they punish the consumer, which is what happened. So they got rid of 4,600 screeners, because they thought this pre-check would be fantastic. But everyone hates it, so what do they do, they come back and say, “Well, we need 6,000 to make up for it”. So that’s then and the other.
Zero Hedge pointed this out, and I’ve seen it elsewhere, too, that what we’re actually seeing here (and I would bet this is the case), is this a TSA revolt over the reduction of the number of screeners. They are purposely slowing things down to punish the consumers and force them to call their congressman and get more money in there so they can help. This is a TSA union thing, and they’re holding the American people hostage.
Ron Paul: And the mentality of the politician and the people, they will use this recent crash of the flight from Paris to Egypt and say, “Look, see what happened, you’ve got to have more”. They will use that, and the politicians are going to go along, and they’ll probably get more money, not less. They’ll probably get 8 billion or something like that. But, you know, technically, the whole thing has proven to be a failure. They get checked on, they run a few tests. And in this one test, the testers were taking weapons through security, and they did on 70 occasions, and the government didn’t come out too well. 67 times the weapons got through security, so we, the consumer, gets punished and mauled over and we’re missing flights and we lose our liberties, and yet, when they do a test, 67 out of 70 times they can get a gun through security. If there’s nothing more clear than that of the total failure of the bureaucratic approach, I don’t know what else can be done.
Daniel McAdams: This is only a recent one that you’re referring to, this is called the Red Team Exercise, where you have an organized group trying to get through on purpose of tests. This was in Minneapolis, if I’m not mistaken. But there are so many examples of this Red Team exercise showing the total failure of them. But you were talking a little bit before, that they didn’t fail with you in one of your recent flights.
Ron Paul: yes, the last time I was on a flight, just within last month or so, I had, for some reason, dreamed or thought that the rules had changed a little bit and you were allowed to have a one inch knife blade on your fingernail clipper. At one time, I had one that was a little bit longer, and it was taken away on 9/12, which was the first time I flew after 9/11. I kept it because I always thought, “You know, I can do a tracheotomy with this knife”, and it was probably maybe two inches long, but that didn’t last long. I was misled, I thought I could have this, it was less than one inch, it was like that long. They discovered it was in my bag and they went all through my stuff and pulled and tore everything apart, and they finally found it and held it up like this.
The options offered to me were, because I didn’t like what they were doing, they said, “You can take this knife and take your stuff, go back out, go back to the counter, put it in the bag and check the bag through, and we’ll let you keep your knife”. I said, “Well, I’m not going to do that”, and they said, “Well, then we’ll have to dispose it off”. But for them to dispose it off, they said they have to have my permission. I said, “Am I going to give you my permission to steal my knife? Call your supervisor.” The supervisor comes over and he wasn’t looking for trouble, he knew me and we had talked before and we tolerated each other. He came over and he was in a box, because the person that picked up the knife was just doing her job. They don’t find guns, but they found my knife.
Finally, I said, “I’m not giving you permission to steal my knife, and he sort of nodded to the other person, so they finally were willing to steal my knife without my permission. But it’s this technical thing that you have to comply, and acquiesce to them. And we do that by just saying, “Yes, we’re going to go through your security lines”. But I had another experience which shows something about these full body scanners. You remember Chertoff, he’s the one who made a lot of money with the first ones, and they found not to be effective. He made his money and ran, and he’s still making a lot of money on national security. I have artificial knees, so I don’t go through the metallic thing and I try to grin and bear it and go through the scanner, and it’s still every bit as bad as ever, I mean, it is terrible.
So, one time I went through, and they said, “We see spots here and here, and we have to do this and this”. And in the mean time he says, “Oh, there’s a little bit of a fuss here, you moved when you were walking around in the scanner, you’re going to have to go through again”. I said, “You’re not serious”. So I went in the scanner, I looked at the screen, and there were five things on the screen. I go out and come back in, and I wanted to see what would be on the screen, and there were a lot of marks. Not one was alike, it was a completely different format. It’s a farce, it’s a fake, it’s a fraud, and yet, they spend all this time making us safe and secure, and then they wonder why people get upset. But the people aren’t upset enough, and I don’t know the answer, because, on occasion, we sort of have to get on an airplane.
But, maybe I’ll be getting close to what Walter Williams did. Walter Williams is a great guy, and he used to give a lot of speeches, he said, “I don’t do it anymore, I will go only if you send me a private plane, I’m not going to get on a public airline and go through that”. In his lifetime he has had enough humiliation. It is a real tragedy, and it should be an incentive to wake up people, but so far, it’s not so good.
Daniel McAdams: The few times that I fly these days, I always op out, and unfortunately, that’s even more humiliating to get patted down, but I feel like it’s my last ability to protest against the system. But I’m always the only one, there’s never anyone in front of me or behind me that does the same. But I thought this might be a fun time to revisit a quote from, believe it or not, November 19th, 2001. This was the frenzy to pass the PATRIOT Act, and the frenzy to do something about airport security. Here’s a great quote, “The pattern is always the same, government agencies fail to do their job, yet, those same failed agencies are given more money and personnel when things go wrong”. That could have been written this week, but you wrote it back in 2001.
Ron Paul: Somebody figures, “How do you know?” Well, it’s a little bit of common sense once you understand government. They’re not predictions as much as just intuition to know that if you do this, this and this, and no one understands government … I mean, if you don’t look at government as a skeptic, and they’re skeptical in everything they say and do, you get what we have today in every area of our government. Right now, today, most people are very skeptical about what’s going on in the country, and that’s why there’s this rebellion and there’s chaos in the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. But, so far, I don’t think their conclusions are anywhere close to what I have been talking about for these many years, because it isn’t management style, it isn’t whose ox is getting gored and what are we going to do and where are we going to drop the bombs and how we’re going to pretend we’re productive. We’re not even there, we’re still talking about the same thing of managing government, and I think in a free society we’re supposed to manage ourselves.
Daniel McAdams: Here’s what people that are watching the show will say, or at least what some of them will say, “Okay, Ron, it’s great, you’re criticizing them and we’re all angry. But what would you do if you were in charge?”
Ron Paul: Well, I would do there what I would do with the Federal Reserve, I’d get rid of the government agency that is causing all the harm and make private individuals deal with it. That means we don’t need a TSA, we need to get rid of it. And the most important thing we can do, is to put the responsibility on the owner, because the owners don’t like the responsibility because they don’t want the liability. So the responsibility of safety has to be with the private owner. There’s nothing in the constitution, nor directed in a free society, that makes government responsible for making us safe and secure, that’s not part of the role of government. They can deal with violence and they can deal with outside threats of war and things like that, but they can’t possibly make us safe and secure, because that leads to the welfare state and the warfare state and a violation of civil liberties.
The principle has to be, the responsibility is on the individual. We had a fair amount of it before 9/11, and some of the examples that I used back then … I think where we’re sitting right now, we can look out of the window and practically see Dow Chemical. They don’t depend on the government, then don’t depend on the federal government, the FBI, the CIA, or anybody else, they don’t even depend on the local police. They have their security forces, and if they have a problem, and they have to arrest or hold somebody, then yes, they’ll call in the law enforcement. But it doesn’t happen, they have fences, they have security a long time before 9/11 because they had property to deal with. We think more of our money than we do of the people, because the people are protected by the government ineffectively, they can’t do it right.
But the money is protected, the money is hauled around in armored cars and it’s pretty darn rare you ever hear anybody losing any money from an armored car, it’s been privatized. So the responsibility has to be on the owners of the equipment. Bus lines, trains … of course, right now, the trains are all owned by the government, and there are crashes all the time. But that principle isn’t there, and I think the whole issue that we’re dealing with is the issues of safety and who’s responsible for it. I think it’s absolutely a personal responsibility. From day one, when we’re born, it’s our parents responsibility to make us safe and secure, and we want to make our homes safe and secure; it isn’t the government’s responsibility.
I compare the situation if you depend on government to make us safe and secure, that it would be like if you were raising a chicken farm. Well, a few people around here have some chickens and all, and we have to deal with raccoons. So you have to make your chickens safe, and you put them in a very, very tight steel cage and put spikes in the ground, and you protect those chickens and the chickens are safe, and that’s what government would have to do to make us safe. How are they going to make us safe in our homes on every little safety factor they try, all these safety features and all. Just think of the violence that occurs in homes and everything else. But you can’t have a policemen there, it’s insane. Yet, not once, is it mentioned in the constitution that one of the responsibilities of government is to make us safe and secure. If it’s safe and secure in economics, it invites you know what, a massive bankrupt government.
Daniel McAdams: People can’t get over the idea that no business wants to kill its customers.
Ron Paul: That’s for sure, personal responsibility and liability is a good way to solve so many of our problems. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect, but I’ll tell you what, government can perfectly mess things up, and they do it. You have a bureaucracy, and they will mess it up. If you want lines, ask the government to take care of things. There are lines at the airport, and they are atrocious, but we have lines at the post office, don’t we, and we say, “Well, it’s the post office”. Do we have a line at the FedEx office? No, the FedEx comes to our building, practically fills out our forms for us, and tells us where our packages are, and they respond to us because they have a little competition and they’re trying to satisfy their customers. But no, once it’s the government, you will be in lines, and that’s where the problem is, we have to assume responsibility.
Freedom doesn’t work unless we have the sense of self-reliance and self responsibility to take care of our needs and take care of our family and provide the safety that we all desire. I want to thank everybody Fed or tuning in today to The Liberty Report, please come back soon.