On Monday, an added TSA fee increase could raise the cost of an airline ticket’s security fee to double what it is now. The fees aren’t paying for security, either. No, instead, travelers are being tapped to pay for Congressional over-spending. Remember that as the Transportation Security Administration agent gets touchy-feely with you at the airport gates.
Traditionally, the TSA fee added to all airline tickets has been used to pay for the costs of federalized security in the airport. Those fees have ranged from $2.50 per connecting flight or $5 for a round trip ticket with a cost cap of $10 per trip. With the new increase, though, travelers will pay $5.60 in each direction no matter the number of transfers, or $11.20 for a round trip. That doubles the security fee on a non-stop round trip ticket. Passengers with long layovers could pay even more.
For this TSA fee increase, do you get extra service, more guarantees of secure flights, or more security lines to lessen congestion within the airport? Nope.
Instead, you get the same security you have now (such as it is) plus the privilege of paying down the national debt that Congress has been busy gathering in our tax-and-overspend government. Thanks to that TSA fee increase and an inability to balance budgets, you can now pay even more for the privilege of traveling.
According to CNN, there are many who oppose these fee hikes and several in Washington who question the TSA’s interpretation of the bill passed which is said to authorize these increases. One group is quoted as calling the government’s treatment of airlines and travelers “it’s own personal ATM.” What’s more, with limited profit margins for the airlines themselves, they aren’t likely to absorb this new TSA fee increase and are likely to pass it on to passengers instead.
Others oppose the TSA fee increase based on the poor performance and questionable spending habits the federal security agency has. Quoted in USA Today, comments on the TSA fee increase have ranged from accusing the agency of being nothing more than predators on the elderly and scary boogeymen for children. The term “security theater” is common and, likely, more to the point.
The fee increase, say others, is really just a tax, since it goes directly to the general fund rather than paying for something specifically related to transportation and the TSA. This becomes a direct attack on “no new taxes” politicians who vowed not to vote for tax hikes, but managed to vote for this TSA fee increase anyway.
As for how much it will do towards reducing the national debt? Congressional Budget Office estimates were $12.6 billion while the TSA itself says the fee increase will raise about $16.9 billion. That’s about one percent of the total national debt, which is currently at about $17.5 trillion dollars, according to the US Debt Clock.