So is every other business
I don't think so. MS had about $40 billion (with a "b") in the bank prior to the recession. Doesn't seem like they're operating on razor thin margins to me.
Maybe they should wisely spend their security budget, and stop wasting money for things/policies that don't actually make anyone safer.
So what do you propose they do instead?
Here's what I imagine part of the problem is: If the airline industry didn't do anything to increase security measures as observed, they'd be damned by the public. They'd be doubly damned if another 9/11-like attack or hijacking occurred. So, they come up with ridiculous policies to make it appear as though they're doing something that's genuinely protecting the public at large.
Ultimately, there really isn't anything that can be done. 9/11 showed that a well-organized, well-planned attack can be performed regardless of the security measures in place. Anyone determined enough could doubtlessly circumvent the draconian policies we have for air travel now. The difference? It looks like they're actually doing something.
I might also remind you that no one was expecting an attack of the magnitude we saw on Sept. 11th.