9/11 Continues to Cost Us

12 years ago two planes crashed into two towers and killed a lot of people. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon, which was far less damaging since the wing that was struck was under construction and therefore unoccupied. But the carnage didn’t stop there. In an ironic twist the very agency that was supposedly created to protect Americans from another terrorist attack, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has made flying so miserable that people now opt to drive shorter distances. Since driving is exponentially more dangerous than flying the country now suffers an additional 500 automobile-related deaths per year:

The inconvenience of extra passenger screening and added costs at airports after 9/11 cause many short-haul passengers to drive to their destination instead, and, since airline travel is far safer than car travel, this has led to an increase of 500 U.S. traffic fatalities per year. Using DHS-mandated value of statistical life at $6.5 million, this equates to a loss of $3.2 billion per year, or $32 billion over the period 2002 to 2011 (Blalock et al. 2007).

To put that number in perspective it has been 12 years since the 9/11 attacks. During that span of time approximately 6,000 people have died in automobile-related accidents that may be alive today if it wasn’t for the draconian policies put into place by the TSA. The 9/11 attacks killed a total of 2,753 people. Since the 9/11 attacks the policies put into place by the federal government have managed to kill over twice as many people as the attacks themselves. That’s not even counting the number of deaths that have occurred because of the wars started using the 9/11 attacks as a justification.

The terrorists won. A handful of people using box cutters and knives were able to bring the mighty United States to its knees.