Thursday, 14 April 2005

Principal-agent problems

It’s probably not good when your boss reads something in the newspaper he doesn’t like:

President Bush said Thursday that he had been surprised to learn in the newspaper of his administration’s decision last week to require Americans to have passports to enter the country from Mexico or Canada by 2008. He said he had asked the State and Homeland Security Departments to look into other means of tightening border security.

I’m not at all convinced that passports are really any more secure than driver’s licenses anyway; my passport (from September 1998) doesn’t have any biometric data on it whatsoever, and neither does my 2004-vintage driver’s license. That said, I’m not sure that requiring passports will increase delays at the border—checking a passport shouldn’t take any more time than checking any other photo ID, unless for some reason the government insists on stamping the passport.