The Rapiscan Secure 1000

What happens to Corporate Persons in an economy where human consumers suddenly run out of spending money? That isn’t a problem for companies who sell to Uncle Sam. But even Uncle Sam has limits, and now that Republicans have suddenly rediscovered their love of balanced budgets, inherited from Herbert Hoover, even Uncle Sam is feeling the pinch.

Fear is one selling point. Even the most devout members of the Church of Small Government grudgingly agree that Uncle Sam has some duties, one of which is to protect the American people from lurking terrorists at any cost. What could be a better way to do that and meet the real goals of the Priests of the CoSG than to persuade Uncle Sam to buy machines to take naked pictures of people before they get on an airplane?

In the era of reality TV, it is a small surprise that there are still Americans who don’t want people looking at them naked. Libertarians, for example, meant it when they said they didn’t want government in their private parts. They also don’t want to be x-rayed. What is a surprise is that they were able to seize upon a civil liberties issue while the Democrats were instructing us that government gets to look in your pants or grope you, all for your own protection.

The libertarian leader Ron Paul used the issue to demand privatization of airport security systems. Apparently he has forgotten that we had private security before September 11, and that the private screeners let a bunch of people get on an airplane with box cutters. Of course, it is just madness to suggest that we would be better off if a Blackwater XE or its ilk took over the naked picture/groping business. We would lose control of the people doing the smutty work, and lose our ability to sue for the abuses that would follow. At least in the current system, we have theoretical redress by holding the government liable, or maybe even bringing reason to the table in setting the rules.

Let’s look at this through the lens of taxation. Government doesn’t have any money because hyper-rich humans and Corporate Persons don’t pay their fair share of taxes. There is no money for investment in the public sector. That is why there isn’t money to hire enough people to adapt the highly successful Israeli system to American needs, just as there is no money to deal with other problems we face, our corroding infrastructure, our antiquated energy systems, our crumbling and increasingly expensive education system, and the millions of unemployed and underemployed people. There is, on the other hand, plenty of money in the private sector for Rapiscan to design and manufacture senseless stuff like porno scanners, and plenty to create a demand for those things.

There is no legitimate private buyer for the porno scanner. It never would have dawned on a sentient human person that spending $25 million from the pathetically low stimulus budget to buy Rapiscan Secure machines would be a good idea, especially since it only created one job. But that kind of thinking isn’t useful in understanding the interaction of Corporate Persons and the Government. After all, that job was apparently in Mississippi, home of the disgraced Trent Lott. Lott is now a principal in the Patton Boggs lobbying group, featuring one George Walton, who lists among his many useful contributions to the smooth functioning of Corporate America:

Assists several airports in securing airport improvement program funding and in obtaining sufficient TSA screener and CBP agent staffing….

Assisted several companies and individuals in obtaining substantial mitigation of civil penalties sought by the FAA and DOT for alleged violations of the Federal Aviation Act and regulations issued thereunder….

Yes, it is lobbying that created the demand, led by Michael Chertoff, a point which the Washington Post doesn’t seem to deem worthy of coverage.

There isn’t money for crumbling infrastructure, but there is plenty of money for connected Corporate Persons. Corporate Persons don’t want to pay for air cargo screening, and we mustn’t slow down commerce. The government doesn’t have money to pay for it. Therefore, the real threat of package bombs is left open, until the Corporate Persons are able to persuade the CoSG to demand that small government buy more machines and pay to operate them.

I don’t know where the money will come from to pay for that, but I feel safe in saying that it won’t come from taxes. We don’t do that any more, kind of like Greece.