Rep. Paul Ryan might want to re-think his budget work with Sen. Patty Murray. The two are working on a bipartisan budget deal that would displace the sequester cuts with cuts from other parts of the budget, and the deal also includes “revenues.” That’s current Washingtonspeak for tax or fee hikes. One of those hikes would hurt the already ailing airline industry, and hand more money to one of the least popular and least effective government agencies, according to Pete Sepp.
A bipartisan agreement that addresses unsustainable entitlement programs, keeps spending in check, and simplifies our convoluted tax laws would certainly be welcome news. Unfortunately though, several media outlets are reporting that any such deal is likely to contain “revenue raisers,” among them major increases in the fees paid to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). This is a terrible idea that should be denied permission to leave the proverbial gate, much less to take off.
Between 2007 and 2012, TSA’s budget has increased by 18 percent with its workforce also growing by 13 percent. Over the same period of time, the number of customers being screened decreased by 75 million people or roughly 11 percent. This budget boost cannot be justified when compared to the slowing demand for its services (not to mention the growing national debt, which now exceeds $17 trillion).
In addition, TSA already exacts a large financial toll on the private sector. Last year, as a way to underwrite a budget approaching $8 billion, the agency collected more than $2.3 billion in “security taxes” from airlines and their customers. This amount represents a 100 percent increase since the TSA’s inception in 2002, all in spite of air travel decreasing during the past six years.
What is Paul Ryan thinking? TSA should never have been created. The federal government does not need to confiscate more dollars, either via tax hikes or fee hikes as Ryan is proposing. It needs to rein in spending and bad, expensive laws like Obamacare need to be abolished. TSA would be an excellent place to start cutting, not a place to park and spend more of our money.