Senate committee votes to help TSA spend more money

Apparently, $8 billion a year isn’t enough for the TSA. They’ve run into a budget shortfall.

Hey, have some sympathy:  the skills required to bully, harass, rob, strip, and grope people — and then lie about it — don’t come cheap. 

Our noble Congress, whose members, as we were told on Capitol Hill yesterday, are hearing relentlessly from their constituents about TSA abuse, rather than rein in this agency, are expanding it. They just voted to cover the TSA’s budget shortfall — with higher fees. Your tax dollars — and then some — at work.

Instead of having a debate over what effective airport security might actually look like and how much should reasonably be spent on the honestly rare threat of commercial air travel-based terrorism, there was a debate over how best to come up with the money for all the radioactive naked picture machines and bomb-sniffing dogs. The Democrats suggested passing the cost of ineffective, cumbersome, and intrusive security theater on to citizens, via higher fees on airfares. The Republicans, even more predictably, suggested cutting spending that directly helps poor people, so that there is enough to spend on stopping imaginary future 9/11s.

The newspaper account of the debate, in The Hill, just reinforced the Republican spin, highlighting the Democrats’ decision to make people spend more money on the hated TSA and downplaying the actual existing Republican alternative to the proposal, which was not “spend less on the hated TSA” but rather “raise money for the hated TSA by slashing needed aid to states.” The Democrats won, or “won,” and now they will earn the fruits of that victory: deserved scorn from everyone. And Ben Nelson (D-Troll Town) voted with the Republicans. (Though surely having users pay the fees for supposedly necessary security measures is perfectly conservative, isn’t it? Am I missing something here? I mean besides the fact that the two sides in this debate weren’t actually “liberal” and “conservative” but rather “people who want to come up with a way of paying for the oppressive and useless national security state” versus “people who want there to be an oppressive national security state but hate government spending on feeding and sheltering impoverished people.”)

Let’s get this straight: this isn’t a partisan issue. Both Democrats and Republicans are culpable. Both have voted and are voting for an expansion of the National Security State, an integral part of which is the TSA.

If you haven’t gotten in touch with your reps yet and raised holy hell, I don’t know what you’re waiting for.

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/David Beyer “yomanimus”)