HOUSTON—A Senate committee has approved a plan to double the fees charged to airline flyers to help fund the Transportation Security Administration.
Every flyer pays a $2.50 federal fee each way to help fund the TSA.
The proposal that just passed out of a US Senate committee would make that $5 each way or $10 per round trip.
Most federal agencies are trying to avoid the budget axe but the Transportation Security Administration is looking for direct revenue.
Adding an increase to the TSA budget would not be a problem if we got anything out of it, but the problem we face is that we’re getting nothing from them except for extra hassle at the airports. Even experts such as former FBI counterterrorism experts and the former security chief for El Al Airlines have said the TSA is remarkably ineffective, providing an illusion of security while doing absolutely nothing to make us safer. If the added money were to be used for more effective procedures, that would be one thing. However, there is no indication that that is in the cards; they even asked a Congressional panel to rescind their invitation to security expert and TSA critic Bruce Schneier, keeping him from testifying about the TSA’s problems.
I’m not one for conspiracy theories, mind, but I noticed something interesting yesterday morning when watching the local CBS affiliate’s early news. I happened to walk by the TV when it was showing the news story about the fee increase, talking about reactions from viewers on their Facebook page. At the end of the piece, one of the two anchors, Ron Trevino, said, “Well, if it makes people feel sa… if it makes people safer…” I thought that was a fascinating self-correction; as stated earlier, one of the biggest criticisms of the TSA is that it engages in what Schneier aptly calls “security theater”, providing an illusion of safety while not actually making people safe. Saying people “feel safer” leads into the question of whether people actually ARE safer. If one didn’t know better, one might think the station might be pushing the current status quo and toeing the TSA’s public line that they are making travel safer, when the evidence states otherwise. The anchor’s rephrasing would fall under those lines, if one bought into that theory.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into it. However, it just struck me as interesting that such a correction would be made.