Down with security theater! We have no evidence that TSA screenings at the airport stop any terrorists. Undercover Homeland Security agents have been able to sneak guns and bombs past TSA screeners with a 95% success rate.
In return for no benefit, we get the cost of more people dying by choosing highways over flyways:
The TSA doesn’t save lives, but it probably ends them. One paper by economists Garrick Blalock, Vrinda Kadiyali, and Daniel Simon found that, controlling for other factors like weather and traffic, 9/11 provoked such a large decrease in air traffic and increase in driving that 327 more people died every month from road accidents. The effect dissipated over time, but the total death toll (up to 2,300) rivals that of the attacks themselves.
Another paper by the same authors found that one post-9/11 security measure — increased checked baggage screening — reduced passenger volume by about 6 percent. Combine the two papers, and you get a disturbing conclusion: In their words, over the course of three months, “approximately 129 individuals died in automobile accidents which resulted from travelers substituting driving for flying in response to inconvenience associated with baggage screening.”
This isn’t just one set of studies; there’s other evidence that 9/11 led to an increase in driving, which cost at least a thousand lives. The 129 deaths per quarter-year figure is, as Nate Silver notes, “the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year” [Dylan Matthews, “The TSA Is a Waste of Money That Doesn’t Save Lives and Might Actually Cost Them,” Vox, 2017.05.17].