In a story today, USA Today highlights the fact that the government, while its intentions may be good, simply cannot match private enterprise in either competence or in efficiency. A new TSA survey of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Chicago O'Hare International Airport and San Francisco International Airport (SFO) found that the TSA-employed screeners at Chicago and Los Angeles missed over 60 percent of the guns, bombs and other weapons that TSA testers carried in tests. LAX's screeners in particular performed abysmally, missing over 75 percent of the test weapons. However, the privately-employed screeners at SFo missed only about 20 percent of the testers' weapons. According to USA Today,
A report on covert tests in 2002 found screeners failed to find fake bombs, dynamite and guns 24% of the time. The TSA ran those tests shortly after it took over checkpoint screening from security companies.
Tests earlier in 2002 showed screeners missing 60% of fake bombs. In the late 1990s, tests showed that screeners missed about 40% of fake bombs, according to a separate report by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
These tests should put to rest the idea that government can be trusted to perfom any task better than private enterprise. While the business of national defense (maintaining armed forces and providing the equipment necessary) and representing Americans abroad can be perfromed only by government, the component pieces of defense, such as security screening, can best be carried out by companies that are accountable. Government, especially the beaureaucracy, has virtually no accountability, which is why such programs as Social Security or the DHS are such disastrous failures.