President Trump has promised to add a plan to improve American airports to his infrastructure proposal. Libertarian minded citizens are looking to Washington to both improve our airports by decentralizing control of airports, relying more on user fees and respecting travelers’ privacy rights.
Time and time again, we as Americans have felt helpless as we’ve watched the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) physically and clumsily invade our personal privacy at the airport and the privacy of those around us. All while they continue to miss glaring red flags transpiring all around them that are deeply impacting our country.
Just last month, while in the Fort Lauderdale airport — two days before the terrorist attack on the airport, killing five people — the TSA stopped me due to the fact that the book in my purse was “too thick and needed further inspection.” The man behind me in line laughed, as he overheard, and informed me he was carrying fireworks in his bag that the TSA had not detected. The self-righteous libertarian in me nearly imploded. This is not an isolated incident, this is a daily and possible deadly occurrence. The issue of airport security in our country needs to be dealt with sooner rather than later, and this next administration plans to deal with the issue as soon as they are in office.
With TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger stepping down because of the end of President Obama’s term, the time has truly come for President Trump to drain the swamp.
Trump has proposed a few ideas that I believe libertarians should be in favor of.
Currently, libertarians are concerned with the amount that taxpayers are going be forced to foot the bill of when it comes to Trump’s infrastructure plan to rebuild America’s airports, roads, and bridges. The fiscally-conservative libertarian favors user-fees, as well as devolving the federal responsibilities over the airports and roads to local control.
While of course, the first thing that Congress should undertake to fix when dealing with the airports is fixing the overzealous and egregiously expensive screening administered by TSA. Every day, the TSA violates the privacy of Americans by treating them as if they are presumed terrorists. We stand there as if we are criminals, and not the free men and women our founding fathers had every intention of us being.
Over the last eight years, we have heard time and time again that the TSA is not doing an exemplary job of screening passengers, yet they continue to employ over 44,000 security officers. The TSA’s sole job is to intercept items that could cause a security threat, yet the resounding issue continues to be that anybody who has traveled in the past few months feels violated every time they pass through security as attacks on airports continue to occur.
As for the funding of infrastructure improvements, the Cato Institute is promoting the libertarian idea of “Privatizing U.S. Airports.” Robert W. Poole Jr. and Chris Edwards make the case for a reduction in “federal intervention” and a push toward a “greater reliance on the private sector to fund, own, and operate the nation’s infrastructure.” These are consistent with libertarian ideas that promote safety and peace-of-mind for travelers alike. Libertarians would like to dismantle the high federal taxes imposed on air travel that is used to improve airports; and allow local airports to collect fees to improve infrastructure on their own.
Libertarians need to look to the members of the House Transportation Committee like Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Mark Sanford (R-SC) who can guide the legislation in the direction of decentralization and to get the federal government out of the business of treating all Americans as if they are terrorists.
Congress will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to shrink government when they consider the infrastructure bill that will touch on air travel. Liberty based ideas that promoted decentralization and a less invasive taxes and security checks could make air travel great again.