Fees to Increase as Transportation Security Administration Budget is Cut?

“A t TSA, the $500 million reduction includes cutting $65 million for behavioral detection officers and $55 million for local law enforcement grants to to airports. On the other hand, it proposes a $1 increase to the TSA security fee in fiscal 2018 to generate an extra $470 million in revenue.”

Fees to Increase as Transportation Security Administration Budget is Cut?

This paragraph is what caught my eye in this article written by Jeremy Herb and Bryan Bender for POLITICO pertaining to the allegation that proposed cuts in the budgets of the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay for the wall to be erected along the border of the United States and Mexico as originally proposed by Donald Trump during his campaign run to become president of the United States.

Concentrating on the Transportation Security Administration — as that is the federal agency which affects travelers most — the budget calls for a decrease in spending by eleven percent; while the September 11 Passenger Security Fee assessed on airline tickets is proposed to increase one dollar from $5.60 per one-way flight to $6.60 — an increase of almost 18 percent.

Past spending habits of the Transportation Security Administration have not been without criticism. For example, the Transportation Security Administration reportedly requested an order of up to $3,000,000.00 for electronic equipment and technology from Apple — including but not limited to computers, monitors, keyboards, iPads, iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, the Apple OS X operating system, extended warranties, repairs and other hardware and software for its employees — back in May of 2012 in order to “support specific areas of the Risk-Based Counter-Terrorism mission.”

This is an example of an image projected by a full-body scanner equipped with X-ray backscatter technology. Portions of the image which may be deemed offensive by some readers have been blurred out. Image courtesy of the Transportation Security Administration.

This is an example of an image projected by a full-body scanner equipped with X-ray backscatter technology. Portions of the image which may be deemed offensive by some readers have been blurred out. Source: Transportation Security Administration.

As another example, tens of millions of dollars spent on placing full-body scanners which used X-ray backscatter technology to screen passengers in airports across the United States. They were removed from service in 2013 because Rapiscan — the manufacturer of the controversial full-body scanners which gained notoriety for producing images of passengers considered by many to be too revealing — failed to produce a software upgrade by the deadline of June 2013 to prevent the scanner from projecting naked images of passengers.

Summary

Donald Trump has adamantly expressed multiple times that the government of Mexico will pay for this wall. I never believed that claim; but as an American citizen, I knew from the start that if that wall was actually to be erected, I would somehow help pay for it.

As much as I firmly believe that the Transportation Security Administration needs to be overhauled or replaced, cutting its budget is not the answer to the issues of national security with which the United States currently faces — that is, unless it is primarily targeted to “trimming the fat” and getting rid of the dead weight, as the agency has also been known by the nickname of “Thousands Standing Around” as an homage to those agents who appear to be doing absolutely nothing at airport security checkpoints…

…and adding an extra dollar in fees per one-way flight is simply wrong, as travelers are already overtaxed and bombarded with fees.

The border wall is a ridiculous idea only because it will not stop people from illegally entering the United States — meaning that the results will nowhere near justify its expense of $2.9 billion in 2018. Those who are determined enough to enter the United States will dig networks of tunnels underneath the wall — as well as use rough terrain or perhaps the ocean to gain entry instead in finding ways to circumvent this wall…

…and having travelers fund this wall is quite ironic, in my opinion. Travel is about crossing borders — not erecting them.

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

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