Just what we need: Flights even more pricey due to asinine bipartisan blunder. Thanks, Congress!

Shortly after House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) reached a budget deal in December with his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray (D-WA), he declared that the agreement “reduces the deficit — without raising taxes.” Well, that depends on your definition of a tax.

Thanks to the Ryan-Murray budget deal, the fee tax passengers pay to fly to fund the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — known as the “September 11th security fee” — more than doubled on Monday, from $2.50 to $5.60 per one-way flight:

The current fee is $2.50 for a non-stop flight or $5 for a connecting flight. The new fee will be $5.60 for all flights, with any connection longer than four hours counting as a separate flight.
[…]
Congress agreed to the increase in December to raise $12.6 billion to cut the deficit. TSA estimates the hike will generate $16.9 billion more than current collections.

“In accordance with federal law, the revenue generated from the security fee will be deposited in the general fund of the Treasury,” said David Castelveter, a TSA spokesman. “The revenue is to be used to offset TSA costs for providing civil aviation security services, after stipulated amounts are applied to reduction of the federal deficit.”

So, to recap, Congress increased the TSA tax by 124 percent to help pay for the $45 billion in spending increases in the Ryan-Murray budget deal. Most of the increased revenues from this tax hike — and, yes, this is a tax hike — won’t go to “improve” the security theater passengers are forced to go through at the nation’s airports.

While Republican apologists of the Ryan-Murray budget deal cling to the purported 10-year, $23 billion overall deficit reduction projections, those numbers aren’t likely to stick. After all, the bipartisan Budget Control Act of 2011 was supposed to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion, and that deal didn’t even last three¬†years.

The tax increases in deals like Ryan-Murray, as history proves, tend to stick around after the promises of deficit reduction fade away like the ink on the paper on which the projections are written.


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