Coming Soon: Drug Test Nation?

Over the ages, classical liberal thinkers have produced a lot of dense prose attempting to explain that socialism is incompatible with freedom. In order to truly appreciate the point, however, most people require vivid examples. To that end, consider the proposal of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to force a wide range of recipients of government assistance to submit to drug tests.

Under the proposal, the state’s Medicaid program, called BadgerCare, would require beneficiaries to be assessed for substance abuse and undergo a drug test “if indicated.” People would not become ineligible for Medicaid if they tested positive for drugs, but would be referred to a treatment program or otherwise have benefits delayed for six months. Anyone who refuses testing or assessment would not be eligible to receive Medicaid.

A drug test is a pretty intrusive invasion of personal privacy, but this is the sort of rollback of freedom that normies and standard-issue conservatives love because it applies only to welfare recipients, people whom conservatives resent. A true lover of freedom, however, cares about everyone’s freedom, not just the freedom of those of whom we approve.

Furthermore, if drug testing Medicaid recipients becomes the norm, a lot of people outside the stereotypical welfare class are going to end up getting tested. That’s because most states (though not Wisconsin) under Obamacare have expanded Medicaid to include many people in the working class and lower middle-class.

Governor Walker has also proposed testing people other than those receiving Medicaid.

Walker recently has also proposed drug testing able-bodied adults who are on food assistance and people who receive unemployment benefits.

Unemployment compensation is not even a welfare program. What’s next, testing student loan recipients? Oh wait, that was already proposed at least as far back as the Clinton Administration.

So, everybody on Medicaid, expanded Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment compensation, student loans…that’s a helluva lot of people potentially getting drug tested.

You may not think drug testing is intrusive, but if the government tried to mandate it for everyone, the courts would almost certainly strike down the policy. But if the government limits the testing to recipients of government benefits, then it’s considered acceptable because government can set conditions on giving out money. He who pays the piper, calls the tune.

But what happens when the government is paying for nearly everybody? A lot of people believe that ‘single-payer’ or ‘Medicare for all’ health insurance is inevitable in America. Once the government is paying for nearly everybody, will everybody have to take a drug test?

That’s something people who love liberty should be worried about, but sad to say, it won’t worry too many suburban normies. Governor Walker is already a hero to many conservatives and libertarians for taking on the labor unions, and his drug policies, unfortunately, won’t cost him much support.

Government Devastates Tanning Industry; Media Applauds

A recent article in Digital Journal reports that government regulations and taxes in recent years have dealt a devastating blow to the indoor tanning industry, and as a result, roughly half of the tanning salons in America have been driven out of business. The article is fascinating not just for the details of how government has unfairly targeted tanning, but also for the arrogant and tendentious attitude of the journalist who reports the story. Instead of a straight reporting of the facts, Digital Journal smears and belittles small business owners for objecting to government policies that make it difficult or impossible for them to make a living. This, apparently, is what passes for journalism nowadays.

[T]he tanning industry is blaming a little-noticed 10 percent tax on tanning that the Affordable Care Act contains as being the main reason for the closing of close to 10,000 of the more than 18,000 tanning salons in the country, according to Fox News.

The tax was “little noticed” by whom? Because I can assure the author that the tax was well noticed by both salon owners and their customers.

Rather than admit to health violations or refusing to follow state and federal rules governing tanning salons, the tanning industry has instead gathered in force to blame Obamacare for the closure of what they claim is 10,000 facilities across the nation.

The sentence is ungrammatical, but let’s leave that aside. What does ‘admit to health violations’ have to do with small business owners complaining about a tax? Is every salon in the country guilty of health violations? Or is it just all 10,000 of the salons that went under? Is the right to complain about a tax contingent on not having health violations anywhere in an industry with thousands of independent firms? Also, why say that the industry “claims” 10,000 salons have closed. Is that true or not? Isn’t verification of this claim part of the job of the journalist?

Of course, many people believe the industry is overstating Obamacare’s impact on the tanning industry, pointing out that state and federal regulations restricting minors from using tanning salons, health violations, as well as public service announcements warning of the adverse health effects of using tanning salons have had the greatest impact on salon closings.

So the war against tanning has not been limited to the tax, but has been multifaceted.

And there is the hint of political motivation that has been thrown into the mix. Many salon owners are saying the overhaul of the health care act will be on their minds come election day, citing the Republican “promise” to repeal the Affordable Care Act when and if they are elected.
“When I go to vote, I’m supporting candidates who are pro-business and who want less government involvement, less government regulation,” said Chris Sternberg, senior vice president of Sun Tan City, a Louisville, Kentucky-based chain with nearly 300 salons in 22 states.

The author apparently believes not only that it’s OK for government to pick winners and losers, but that the losers shouldn’t be able to try to defend themselves by participating in the political process.

It does the heart good to know there are some tanning salon owners that really don’t care about the health of their customers, putting profits before anything else.

How do you know that the owners “don’t care about the health of their customers?” Is that something you can back up with hard evidence, or do you just like to impugn people’s motives? Also, let us know when you find that society that runs on selflessness rather than self interest. Pol Pot tried in Cambodia but couldn’t make it work.

In New York state in February this year, 42 tanning salons were cited for violations that included, “failing to warn patrons of the danger of overexposure to ultraviolet rays, failing to post signs that serving minors is prohibited, failing to test disinfectants and failing to have manufacturing manuals for UV devices on the premises,”

Not enough signs? Disinfectants that weren’t “tested”? Didn’t have the owner’s manual handy? THE HORROR. But what does that have to do with the failure of 10,000 salons?

The tax is not meant to single out tanning salons or their customers.

Regardless of what was “meant,” the tax does effectively single out salons and their customers. Every penny of the tax is paid by salons and their customers and to a lesser degree by people in supporting industries.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says those who use tanning beds before age 35 increase their lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, by 59 percent.

Maybe, but tanning creates Vitamin D, which is perhaps the most effective anti-cancer nutrient known to man. In fact, people diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer (not the deadly one), which is a proxy for sun exposure, actually have a lower overall risk of death from all other causes, including heart attacks.

But of course, the pros and cons of tanning are a different subject from the effects of the tax on the industry or the right of the industry to fight the tax by participating in the political process.

We don’t know anything about the author of this Digital Journal piece, but we’d bet a lot of money she is under 35, probably under 30. Sad.

The Not-So Settled Science of Salt: Part Deux

Last week, we mocked New York City’s plan to require restaurants to label the salt content of food. As we explained, recent scientific evidence contradicts the conventional wisdom that Americans consume too much salt. Well, just four days after we posted, the FDA introduced new “voluntary guidelines” intended to get the food industry to reduce the salt content of processed food. As usual, the government’s press release speaks in haughty tones, making it sound like the scientific evidence unambiguously supports the government position, and that anyone who differs must be some kind of cretin, ignoramus, or science denier.

Here’s what the government had to say in its press release.

The science supporting the relationship between sodium reduction and health is clear: When sodium intake increases, blood pressure increases, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke – two leading causes of death in the U.S.

[…]

“The totality of the scientific evidence supports sodium reduction from current intake levels,” said Susan Mayne, Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Experts at the Institute of Medicine have concluded that reducing sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day can significantly help Americans reduce their blood pressure and ultimately prevent hundreds of thousands of premature illnesses and deaths.”

Sounds like the Science is Settled, right? Except that it’s not.

Intersalt, a large study published in 1988, compared sodium intake with blood pressure in subjects from 52 international research centers and found no relationship between sodium intake and the prevalence of hypertension. In fact, the population that ate the most salt, about 14 grams a day, had a lower median blood pressure than the population that ate the least, about 7.2 grams a day. In 2004 the Cochrane Collaboration, an international, independent, not-for-profit health care research organization funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, published a review of 11 salt-reduction trials. Over the long-term, low-salt diets, compared to normal diets, decreased systolic blood pressure (the top number in the blood pressure ratio) in healthy people by 1.1 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 0.6 mmHg. That is like going from 120/80 to 119/79. The review concluded that “intensive interventions, unsuited to primary care or population prevention programs, provide only minimal reductions in blood pressure during long-term trials.” A 2003 Cochrane review of 57 shorter-term trials similarly concluded that “there is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.”

[…]

[A] 2006 American Journal of Medicine study compared the reported daily sodium intakes of 78 million Americans to their risk of dying from heart disease over the course of 14 years. It found that the more sodium people ate, the less likely they were to die from heart disease. And a 2007 study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology followed 1,500 older people for five years and found no association between urinary sodium levels and the risk of coronary vascular disease or death.

And here’s what Steven Nissen, chairman of the department of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today this week.

The science is uncertain. If you’re in the general population, I can’t support the widespread recommendation to reduce sodium intake.

Oh well.

But hey, wanna know what really is pretty much settled science? The fact that all sorts of government interventions in the economy–regulations, minimum wages, agricultural subsidies, high taxes, trade barriers, etc.–destroy wealth and make Americans poorer. The economic science behind those relationships is really quite well founded. But government obviously does not want to talk about that science.

Finally, can someone please direct us to where in the Constitution it says that the federal government gets to decide how much salt Americans consume?

FDA delenda est.

Gas Cans Suck–Thanks to The Federal Government

Jeffrey Tucker has a pretty good rant about the new gas cans that don’t work–thanks to the federal government.

The nozzle doesn’t quite go in. I tilted it up and tried to jam it in.

I waited. Then I noticed gas pouring all down the side of the car. So I pulled it out and experimented by pouring it on the ground. There was some weird contraption on the outside and it wasn’t clear how it worked.

I poured more and more on the ground. Some got on my shoe. Some got on my hands. Some got on my suit.

Gas was everywhere really — everywhere but in the tank. It was a gassy mess. If someone had lit a match, I would have been a goner.

Finally I turned out the crazy nozzle thing a few times. It began to drip in a slightly coherent direction so I jammed it in. I ended up putting about one cup of gas in, started my car and made it to the gas station.

I’m pretty sure gas cans used to work. Yes. It was a can. It had a spout. It had a vent hole on the other side. You stuck in the spout and tipped. You never saw the gas.

Then government “fixed” the gas can. Why? Because of the environmental hazards that come with spilled gas. You read that right. In other words, the very opposite resulted. Now you cannot buy a decent can anywhere. You can look forever and not find a new one.

Instead you have to go to garage sales. But actually people hoard old cans. There is a burgeoning market in kits to fix the can.

The whole trend began in (wait for it) California. Regulations began in 2000, with the idea of preventing spillage. The notion spread and was picked up by the EPA, which is always looking for new and innovative ways to spread as much human misery as possible.

An ominous regulatory announcement from the EPA came in 2007: “Starting with containers manufactured in 2009… it is expected that the new cans will be built with a simple and inexpensive permeation barrier and new spouts that close automatically.”

The government never said “no vents.” It abolished them de facto with new standards that every state had to adopt by 2009. So for the last five years, you have not been able to buy gas cans that work properly. They are not permitted to have a separate vent. The top has to close automatically. There are other silly things now, too, but the biggest problem is that they do not do well what cans are supposed to do…

There is no possible rationale for these kinds of regulations. It can’t be about emissions really, since the new cans are more likely to result in spills. It’s as if some bureaucrat were sitting around thinking of ways to make life worse for everyone, and hit upon this new, cockamamie rule.

These days, government is always open to a misery-making suggestion. The notion that public policy would somehow make life better is a relic of days gone by. It’s as if government has decided to specialize in what it is best at and adopt a new principle: “Let’s leave social progress to the private sector; we in the government will concentrate on causing suffering and regress.”

Whenever bureaucrats actually do anything, they make our lives worse. The best we can hope for is that they just cash their paychecks and talk football around the water cooler.

In any event, online forums, particularly those related to boating, are full of comments by people bitching and moaning about the new cans. In one of those comment threads, somebody asked if it’s possible to fill a non-approved can such as a water can or jerry can at a gas station. No, came the reply, if they see you they will shut off the pump. That reply induced a frustrated commenter to speculate that there must have been more freedom even in Nazi Germany. Well, Nazi Germany was not in fact freer in every respect, but it’s true that under the Nazis you could as least go to a gas station and fill a jerry can. After all, they invented it!

Another response to the new cans is that people have posted loads of amusing youtube videos on how to hack the cans to make them work properly. For instance, in the video below, the hack involves drilling an air vent and plugging it with a tire valve stem. The problem with this hack, however, is that ethanol in the gas will cause the valve stem to deteriorate.

And why does the gas contain ethanol?

Washington Post: We Need to Ban Porn Because Donald Trump

In case we needed any more evidence that the political left has gone all-in with the Female Imperative, washingtonpost.com this week published a piece calling for a ban on pornography. And what is the specific social harm that justifies such a ban? Well, we read the article pretty closely, and here’s the only specific alleged social harm attributed to pornography.

Even the rise of Donald Trump provides evidence of pornography’s social harm. How to understand the success of Trump’s makeup-caked, misogynistic candidacy, except as an eruption onto the political stage of the pornographic subterrain?
If you cringe at Trump’s sneering misogyny, then join me in calling for a ban on the thing that made his crude appeal possible. Pornography’s enjoyments may be private, but its harms are inescapably public.

So pornography is “the thing” that made the rise of Donald Trump possible. We’ve read a number of different theories attempting to explain Trump’s support, but this one really takes the caked makeup.

But it’s not just that the article insanely links Trump to pornography. It’s that in justifying a ban, the only specific ‘social harm’ the article cited was Trump. No other specifics. Literally, we need to ban pornography because Trump!

Meanwhile, here’s a link to an article in Scientific American (“The Sunny Side of Smut”) that cites several peer reviewed studies suggesting that porn actually decreases the incidence of rape.

Needless to say, the Washington Post article cited none of those peer-reviewed studies. Such are the intellectual standards of the Washington Post.

Why Does Senator Schumer Hate Consumers?

Not content with regulating what kind of light bulb you can use, how much water your shower head, toilet, and dishwasher can use, which treatments your health insurance must cover, and on and on, the federal government now wants to decide how much space you’ll have to purchase on a flight.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer wants to require the Federal Aviation Administration to establish seat-size standards for commercial airlines, which he says now force passengers to sit on planes “like sardines.”

The New York Democrat told The Associated Press the airlines have been slowly cutting down legroom and seat width.

“One of the most vexing things when you travel on an airplane is there’s almost no legroom on your standard flight,” Schumer said. “There’s been constant shrinkage by the airlines.”

He said he will add an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill that is pending before Congress that would require the agency to set the seat-size guidelines. Schumer planned to formally announce the proposal at a news conference Sunday.

Schumer said seat pitch, the distance between a point on an airline seat and the same spot on the seat in front of it, has dropped from 35 inches in the 1970s to a current average of closer to 31 inches, and seat width has gone from 18.5 inches to about 16.5 inches. He argues that the requirement is needed to stop airlines from shrinking those numbers even further.

“They’re like sardines,” Schumer said of airplane passengers. “It’s no secret that airlines are looking for more ways to cut costs, but they shouldn’t be cutting inches of legroom and seat width in the process … It’s time for the FAA to step up and stop this deep-seated problem from continuing.”

Currently, there are no federal limits on how close an airline’s row of seats can be or how wide an airline’s seat must be.

Yeah, well, the 1970s glory days of wide seats occurred before airlines were deregulated. In those days, airline fares were not determined by market forces but were set by bureaucrats at the Civil Aeronautics Board. And guess what? The bureaucrats set the fares very high so that most people could not afford to fly.

The fact is that if airlines have to install larger seats, they won’t be able to fit as many seats on each plane, causing the cost per passenger to increase. Maybe some people imagine that the airlines can just eat those costs, and not pass them on to consumers. But the fact is that airlines are fairly competitive, and profit margins reasonably low. The costs of larger seats would have to be passed on to consumers.

So when Chuck Schumer says he wants consumers to have more space on a plane, he’s really saying he wants to force consumers to buy more space than they really want to pay for.

There’s a trade-off between space and price that must optimally be balanced. Question: How does Chuck Schumer know how to balance that trade-off? How does Chuck Schumer know how big an airline seat should be? Answer: He doesn’t.

As a matter of fact, we’re pretty sure that Chuck Schumer is wrong about airline seats, because if consumers were willing to pay enough to justify the cost of larger seats, the airlines would provide them. The airlines would have to provide the larger seats because any airline that didn’t install them would lose customers to airlines that did. That’s how a free market works. And only a free market, not Chuck Schumer, can determine how large an airline seat should be.

Of course, some consumers are willing and able to pay more in order to enjoy more space. That’s why airlines offer first-class, business class, and a few aisles in coach with extra legroom. Seat sizes also vary to some degree across planes and airlines, and any consumer who’s interested can easily look up those differences on various websites.

Chuck Schumer’s pretending to be a champion of consumers against greedy corporations, but in fact his position is anti-consumer. Instead of letting the market reflect the true preferences of consumers, he wants to impose his own preference by turning the clock back to the 1970s.

Yes, in the 1970s, seats were roomier. And the airlines even served unlimited free adult beverages! But all those amenities had to be paid for. The reason why those amenities disappeared after deregulation was because most consumers didn’t value them enough to continue paying for them. Forcing consumers to pay for amenities they don’t value is not pro-consumer, it’s anti-consumer.

Why does Chuck Schumer hate consumers?

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Time to Lower the Drinking Age

Until about 30 years ago, most states set their legal drinking age at 18. Then the federal government used constitutionally-dubious extortion–threatening to withhold highway funds–to coerce the states to raise the drinking age to 21. Despite the higher drinking age, 18-20 year olds who want to drink can always find a way to obtain alcohol.

But the problem with the drinking age is not just that it’s ineffective at reducing consumption. Perversely, the drinking age creates incentives that make alcohol consumption by young people less responsible. Specifically, the drinking age incentivizes binge drinking, and drives youth drinking underground, out of sight of older, more responsible adults.

In a recent article in Commentary magazine, John Steele Gordon provides a concise summary of the issue.

[T]he main consequence of this law has been to drive college-age alcohol consumption underground, which has in all likelihood increased that consumption and probably actually increased drunk driving. Unable to drink in public at bars and restaurants, where the owners and the other patrons would exert a restraining influence, college-age people drink in dorm rooms, basements, and fraternity houses. The result has been a marked increase in binge drinking. U.S. News and World Report reported that, “The CDC… found that young people between the ages of 12 and 20 drink 11 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the U.S., and more than 90 percent of this alcohol is consumed during binge drinking.”

That last statistic is quite remarkable. Not a lot of casual drinking among the young. They drink to get shit-faced. The reason is that prohibition, whether of drugs or alcohol, always increases the intensity of consumption. That’s because there’s no point to breaking the law just to nurse a light beer for an hour. If you’re going to run the legal risk, might as well make it worthwhile by getting hammered. That explains binge drinking, and also why Prohibition during the 1920s increased the consumption of hard liquor relative to beer and wine.

The same holds true for drugs. People often argue that we can’t legalize drugs because hard drugs like heroin are too dangerous. What they don’t understand is that hard drugs are themselves the product of prohibition. If drugs were decriminalized, people could meet their needs with milder opiates rather than resorting to heroin. Indeed, a major contributor to America’s current heroin epidemic is the government’s counterproductive crackdown on opioid painkillers.

For years, treatment centers saw few heroin addicts. But that started changing in the mid-2000s and took off a few years later after a government crackdown on opioid painkiller abuse. Unable to get pills, many addicts turned to heroin, the painkillers’ chemical cousin.

As usual, the better policy involves more freedom, not less. Time to bring the drinking age back down to 18, or preferably, eliminate it altogether.

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A Get-out-of-jail Card for the Free-range Kid

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt is fast becoming one of our favorite social scientists. His latest display of awesomeness consists of a note he wrote for his son to carry in case he gets accosted by busybodies. Lenore Skenazy shares the note on her excellent site, Free Range Kids.

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Max Haidt. I am 9 years old and live in NYC. My parents are teaching me a sense of independence, the kind that they had when they were growing up. They encourage me to go out and play in my neighborhood. I also help my mom by doing an occasional grocery store run for her.

New York State Law does NOT specify an age below which children must be attended by an adult. It grants substantial leeway for parents to exercise their judgment about what is safe. And my parents and I believe it’s safe, healthy, and fun for me to be allowed to explore my neighborhood.

If you do not believe me, please call them or text them:
Jayne Riew, [I deleted the #]
Jonathan Haidt, [I deleted this #, too, but I’m glad to have it!]

If you attempt to detain me on grounds that you think it’s inappropriate or illegal for me to be on my own, then please:
1) Read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
2) Read Free Range Kids, by Lenore Skenazy
3) Call my parents with your name and address so they can pursue legal action against you.

Then let me go.

Sincerely,

Max Haidt

Note the part about how “New York State Law does NOT specify an age below which children must be attended by an adult.” That lack of legal specificity hasn’t stopped the state from arresting and persecuting parents for running afoul of Child Protective Services. As we’ve written previously, there are two problems with enforcing such vague laws. First, the citizen can never feel secure that he or she is in full compliance with the law. Second, since the law stipulates no specific age, unelected bureaucrats and judges are effectively empowered to decide what the law is.

For instance, can a 10-year-old girl lawfully ride her bike to school? The legal code doesn’t say specifically. Whether or not that parent faces legal consequences therefore depends entirely on the whim of unelected judges and bureaucrats. It follows that the law is effectively whatever the bureaucrats say it is. This empowering of bureaucrats to make law violates the principles of representative democracy and the rule of law. At this point, the states need to put up or shut up–legislate a legal minimum age for unsupervised children, or GTFO.

As great as Jon Haidt’s note is, reader “Warren” at Lenore Skenazy’s site offered a second note, intended for police. We like this note even better since it exposes and exploits the state’s lack of legal legitimacy on this issue.

They might consider having him carry a second note, for law enforcement only.

“Dear Police Officer,

I am out and about with the knowledge and permission of my legal guardians.

Am I being detained?

If the answer is NO, then I will be on my way.
If the answer is YES, then please contact our family’s attorney at —————, and explain to him/her why I am being detained.

Sincerely,
A Future Voter and Taxpayer.”

We’d love for middle-class kids all over America to start carrying notes like this. And we say middle class, because it’s the middle class on which the state primarily preys. You can be sure that the rich and the Political Class never have to worry about harassment from CPS. If her parents approved, Nancy Pelosi’s grand daughter would certainly be allowed to ride her bike to school, or to play unsupervised in her own yard.

At the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, the bureaucrats are not too keen to venture into the scary and benighted ghettos of the underclass. Furthermore, those people don’t have the money to pay fines. It follows that the soft target for the predatory state is the middle class.

Time to start fighting back.

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Bad Old Days?

I’m only a third of the way through one of my summer reading books which tells the fascinating history of American counter-terrorism from the end of World War 2 to the post 9-11 period and came across an interesting discussion of the rash of airplane hijackings that took place in the 1960s.  In total, twenty one planes were hijacked between 1961-1968 and all but one of them was flown to Cuba.  These supposedly became so frequent that pilots flying to southern states routinely carried maps of the Havana airport.  What was particularly interesting was the discussion of the official government and airline reaction to this mayhem:

By the late 1960s the FAA concluded that there was little that could be done to prevent hijackings.   “It’s an impossible problem,” said an FAA spokesman in the summer of 1968, “short of searching every passenger.” In 1968, “searching every passenger” seemed like a fantastic overreaction to the apparent threat.  There was as yet no screening at airports: no metal detectors, no checks on passengers and their luggage…..  The White House, the U.S. Congress, and the press all seemed to agree, or at least showed little interest in starting a screening program.

Amazing.  We are old enough to remember being able to meet people getting off airplanes at the gate but we still had to go through a metal detector.  Young people take the inconveniences and restrictions currently in place as “normal” and probably find it hard to believe that things were ever different.  We are not sure what the optimal trade-off between freedom and security is but David Friedman recently made a strong case that the costs of current policies are very large indeed:

We cannot calculate the number of dead without knowing the size of the shift from flying to driving produced by the TSA, but we can at least get some feel for the order of magnitude. The mortality rate from driving is about one death per 100 million vehicle miles. The mortality rate from flying is very close to zero—one estimate I found was .07 deaths per billion passenger miles. So, roughly speaking, every hundred million passenger miles diverted from flying to driving represents one more highway death.

In February of 2015, passengers on commercial airlines flew 60 billion passenger miles. Assuming the figure is the same for other months, that’s about 700 billion passenger miles a year. If we assume, I think conservatively, that one percent of passenger miles are diverted from flying to driving by TSA hassles, that comes to 7 billion passenger miles or about 70 deaths. Add that up for the thirteen years the TSA has been in operation, and it has killed almost a thousand people. Invisibly.

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