Focus Point - Does Europe have the answer to safe air travel?Commentary by Pete du Pont
November 08, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. If the terrorist attack on the U.S. wasn't enough to slow air traffic to a crawl, the backlash that followed has left us with interminably long lines and patience-killing security countermeasures. Now the Democrats want government to solve the problem If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as the British say, then the answer to safer air travel can be found in Europe.
Europeans, you'll remember, have lived through several decades of Serbs terrorism. Still, there were only 4 hijackings at European airports during the 1990s. And the reason is that airport security workers are privately employed.
European air terminal managers tried government workers first, but the results were dismal. Today, they depend on private workers. Wherever you travel in Europe...Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam or even London...airport security personnel, working for private firms, are backed up by a small coterie of law enforcement officers.
The Senate has passed legislation to entrust our safety to government employees. But before Congress decides to federalize baggage handlers, maybe they should take note of the Europeans' success.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, health care is a bigger problem than Social Security.