I am really so tired of hearing about the TSA lately. They have been in the news for these xray body scanners and personal groping pat downs (that are more like feeling ups). I can’t read anything related to the TSA without thinking about what a colossal waste of money this is. In these budget conscious times for the federal government they are wasting billions on this folly and not getting a great return on this investment. Let me explain.
As far as I know since 2000 there have been 2977 deaths related to air travel incidents in the U.S. involving terrorists actions at an estimated cost in property and insurance losses of $21 billion. Obviously this equates to 298 deaths a year extrapolated over ten years time($2 billion 100 million/yr). According to the CDC, heart disease alone (being the #1 killer of Americans annually) was responsible for 616,067 deaths in 2007 alone. While the “baby boomers” generation is heading into their senior years, this number is sure to rise quite rapidly over the next few years unless there are some serious advancements in this field. According to the American Heart Association the total costs of heart disease in 2009 for the United States was $165.4 billion.
Lets contrast this now with the cost of the TSA. The total TSA budget for fiscal year 2011 is slated at $43.6 billion. Up from $6.8 billion in 2008. Do you feel $36.8 billion safer than when Obama was elected? Was the average American lifespan increased since 2008? I doubt it. According to the American Heart Association the NIH (National Institute of Health) 7% of the NIH budget is allocated to heart disease treatment and research. In 2011 the NIH budget is slated to be$32 billion. That means that $2.24 billion will be spent on heart disease at the federal level. States also spend on this type of research but the figures are in the low $100 million territory or less, if at all.
So lets be clear here:
$43.6 billion will be spent on trying to save the lives of 298 people a year (on average)
$2.24 billion will be spent on trying to save the lives of 616,067 people or more a year (2007 actual)
Obviously this is the information I am giving you in it’s simplest form and there are equations and factors which I am not touching on for both of the above line items. This would be a master thesis for some college if I would delve any further into these mitigating factors and circumstances but I think this perspective we are seeing should give us pause for a few reasons.
Either the federal government doesn’t give a rats ass if you live or die or they are just grossly incompetent, or both (I’m going with both). Or better yet they could be lining the pockets of their defense industry friends with the purchase of all the bullshit TSA needs. $43.6 billion worth of bullshit. Which would be borderline racketeering and criminal enterprise. If the federal government really wanted to make us safer, healthier and happier they would surely spend some or all of that TSA budget to affect the mortality rate of heart disease. Throw in half of the Pentagon budget to boot, with their $500 billion or so and we should make some real headway on the treatment and prevention of heart disease. Which in turn would save us money on treatment and prevention of heart disease in the future. As well as increasing the lifespan of the average American which would affect all 300 million of us. If the average lifespan increases so should tax revenues.
These are some of my thoughts, when I think of the TSA or the War on Terror or the overblown and unnecessary military spending in this country. These kinds of things really just illustrate how incompetent and corrupt the federal government has become. It has become a monkey on the backs of the people. Wasting all of our money. And our kids money. And their kids money. And their kids, kids money. We need a better return on all our investments. We need a fundamental change in the power structure of this land. The sooner the better.
I have listed below some of my sources for this post as well as some of the inspiration.