I’m a fan of Ezra Klein, but this blog post isn’t his greatest. He criticizes me for this post, in which I suggested that Congress wasn’t making good use of its time investigating crime aboard cruise ships. He writes that I went “for the easy partisan jab in such a misleading way.” Well, I didn’t mention Democrats or Republicans in that post, so I don’t see how my jab is “partisan.”
On the more serious matter of whether Congress should be concerning itself with this issue, Klein states, “If Hogberg had read the summary document on the House page he links to, he’d have learned that cruise industry executives have voluntarily disclosed 178 sexual assaults and 24 vanished passengers aboard cruise ships between 2003 and 2005.”
Let’s examine those numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 10 million people travel on cruise ships annually. Thus, about 30 million traveled between 2003 and 2005. For sexual assaults, that would be a crime rate of about 0.6 per 100,000 passengers. Assuming that all 24 vanished passengers were murdered, that would be a murder rate of 0.08 per 100,000 passengers.
To put that into perspective, look at the crime statistics for another area over which Congress has jusrisdiction. But as of late, crime hasn’t been Congress’s biggest concern.
Of course, cruise ships could be under-reporting their crime stats, but they would have to do so by a factor of 50 on sexual assaults and by a factor of 442 on murders for cruise ships to be as dangerous as that other area.
Thus, I think my point that Congress has better things to occupy its time is a pretty strong one.