Jul 12 2011

Should we have to pay the government to trust us?

As we noted a few months ago, some elements of the travel industry (those more interested in whether the trains and planes run smoothly and on time than on whether their smooth operation includes integral surveillance and control of travelers by governments) have joined the homeland-security industrial complex in a lobbying campaign for traveler profiling schemes that include disparate treatment for “trusted” travelers.

Travel columnist and consumer advocate Christopher Elliott gets it exactly right in his analysis of the latest salvo from the “trusted traveler” industry lobby:

We can probably all agree that the TSA needs to be reformed. But at whose expense? Last week, the US Travel Association released a survey that suggests a significant majority of frequent business and leisure travelers would pay up to $150 to enroll in a “trusted traveler” program that would allow them to skip the invasive pat-downs and body scanners.

I think US Travel is asking the wrong question. We’ve already paid for any trusted traveler program, through taxes and 9/11 security fees. Will I shell out another $750 a year for my family of five to avoid having its dignity violated? Hell, no. My government trusts me to pay taxes and obey the laws of the land. Maybe it can see itself clear to also figure out that I won’t blow up my next flight without forcing me to pay extra.

There can be no meaningful reform with the current administration and its appointees in place. Maybe the first step to fixing the TSA is to elect a new administration in 2012.

I’m not sure if I like any of the current choices.

3 thoughts on “Should we have to pay the government to trust us?

  1. No elected official is going to do anything to change the military/security/industrial/commercial interests that really rule this country. Consider that the biggest lobbying effort against either Prostitution or Marijuana reform in the US is Corrections Corporation of America and their kissing cousins. Why? They would lose millions in revenue if those two were legalized. Also ask yourself why the US travel industry has never actively lobbied for longer vacations for American workers.

    Next question, why is the US still using a nine-digit insecure Social Security number for identification when software costing $35 US is using a 35-digit alpha-numeric unlocking code? No wonder ID theft is rampant.

  2. Pingback: Papers, Please! » Blog Archive » TSA plans yet another “trusted traveler” scheme

  3. Pingback: REAL-ID Act amendments don’t address the real ID problem – Papers, Please!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *