Info

badice.com ~ travel musings for the masses

Posts tagged government

Choose another tag?

Reason.com takes a look at a bunch of TSA stats, including a heavily redacted document regarding security breaches →

The article pulls out some interesting data from a report compiled by the Republican staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Here are a few highlights:

  • 85 percent of the approximately 5,700 items of major transportation security equipment currently warehoused had been stored for longer than six months; 35 percent of the equipment had been stored for more than one year. One piece of equipment had been in storage more than six years—60 percent of its useful life.
  • TSA had 472 carry-on baggage screening machines warehoused, more than 99 percent of which have remained in storage for more than nine months; 34 percent of the machines have been stored for longer than one year.
  • TSA possessed 1,462 explosive trace detectors in storage, each purchased at a cost of $30,000. Of those devices, 492 had been in storage for longer than one year.

We should be utterly dumbfounded by these numbers. Not because we want the technology implemented, but because the equipment was bought in the first place. It equates to the TSA being given a blank check to shop in the billionaire’s version of SkyMall, all while not being completely honest about security breaches.

Even more disturbing is that even though these numbers and a series of “groping” incidents have made the news, the TSA continues to expand their reach. There are reports of TSA pat downs and bag searches taking place at McCormick Station in Chicago during the NATO summit.

I am not sure any of this is going to stop until a number of people in office put their foot down. The TSA seems less concerned with traveler safety and more concerned about the newest, fanciest equipment and which order to put people through the nude-o-scope. The goal is to make travel safer. If the TSA has lost sight of that goal, then it’s time for us to move on, shutter the TSA, and figure out a better way of performing the single task at hand.

Behind all of the healthcare debates and save-face moments lies another policy proposal that is quietly making its way through the House. The Obama administration is proposing to increase its current 20% share of the student-loan origination market to 80% by July 1, 2010 and letting the remaining public sector 20% just fade away.

For decades, federally backed student loans were the most common way to borrow for college. Money was raised in the private sector, loans made and the private institutions paid a fee to the government for each loan. In return, the government covered most of the defaults which in turn, allowed the private lenders to make a regulated return. All of that changed in 2007 when Congress legislated a return so low that no private lender could make a profit holding the assets.

The administration is claiming that this will save $87 billion but there are discrepancies that the Congressional Budget Office says really only mean $47 billion in savings. Long story short, be prepared for the default rates to skyrocket and for more students to suffer as they come out of college and realize missing a single payment could cost them dearly.

Education for all! [that can afford it]