Hey, Who's Up For a Huge New Tax on Airline Tickets?
You kids might not remember this, but a few years ago Congress wanted to tax foreign tourists in order to increase foreign tourism. The deeply moronic public theory was to take money from tourists, then use that money to promote tourism, then wait around for all the tourists to start flooding in. In actuality it was a way to drive travelers to Las Vegas restaurants and hotels and away from other parts of the country, all done at the expense of tourists who just wanted to come to the United States. Congress ended up passing that legislation and the President ended up signing it, by the way.
Fast forward to the 2014 budget submitted by President Obama to Congress. It looks to make air travel better by taxing air travel more. The giggle-worthy logic begins with the idea that getting through an airport takes a really long time right now because there aren't enough workers and infrastructure, and that's depressing travel. But if you tax travelers, the reasoning goes, you'll be able to put that money into airports. Airports will become better, more people will want to use them, and magic happens.
Before we do that, how about we see if we can maybe streamline some waste in government travel bodies? Because this feels awfully familiar. In fact TSA floated this exact trial balloon a few years ago. It was shot down, because it was stupid.
This time it's apparently the FAA is the one declaring that if only they had more fees, things would be so much better. That's the agency that handles its books so poorly the Democratic party was forced to nearly detonate its sequestration strategy just to prevent a total breakdown in air travel. They're the ones who want to hike up average ticket taxes from $61 to $75, because giving more money to dysfunctional agencies always works.
Except no it doesn't in general, and no it wouldn't in this case.
The budget would also increase the fee on customs inspections. And on immigration services. And yes, again, on security fees.
[Photo: brentdanley / Flickr]