Alaska-Size Chutzpah

Congress Daily reports that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, grilled Transportation Security Administrator Kip Hawley yesterday over his agency's plans for a 50-cent increase in airline passenger fees to pay for baggage screening equipment:

[Stevens was] adamant in opposing the 50-cent-per-flight fee increase, claiming that his constituents have to fly more intrastate than other Americans because of the size and difficult terrain of Alaska and are seeing none of the security improvements. "I don't know why we have to pay intrastate charges for security we don't get," he said.

And exactly what value would most Americans have gotten from the "bridges to nowhere" that Stevens notoriously championed a few years ago? With a price tag of $453 million, they would have cost every man, woman, and child in the country $1.50, three times the proposed TSA fee that riles Stevens. (Alaska ultimately got the money without explicit earmarks; one of the bridge projects has been canceled, while the other may yet proceed.) Even without those projects, Alaska excels at fleecing U.S. taxpayers, pulling in $1.84 for every dollar it sends to Washington, D.C., according to the Tax Foundation's numbers for 2005, when it ranked third by that measure, thanks largely to Stevens' tireless pork pulling.

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  • Neil||

    Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens ties Robert "KKK" Byrd as the worst US Senator. Even I would vote for a conservative Democrat before this pork whore.

  • ||

    It is sad that Sen. Stevens is hailed as a God in these parts.
    Alaska Magazine did a cover story on him with the title of "Can Alaska Survive Without Ted Stevens?"
    Hell, he is not only still alive but still in office and the International Airport is named after him already.
    This is a man that has made a career of fleecing the US populace, Alaskans included, and yet folks in this state still kiss the ground he walks on. Ridiculous!!

  • Elemenope||

    You're not wrong, Stevens. You're just an asshole!

  • Geotpf||

    We may not have Ted Stevens to kick around for much longer. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report calls his seat a straight toss up (along with four other Republican-held seats (plus one that is listed as likely Dem)), with zero toss ups or worse for Democratic-held seats.

    http://www.cookpolitical.com/races/report_pdfs/2008_sen_ratings_mar20.pdf

  • Elemenope||

    Ted "Series of Tubes" Stevens ties Robert "KKK" Byrd as the worst US Senator.

    Hah! And I suppose you actually have some point to make bringing up his former affiliation with the KKK, and not just making a random and cheap disparagement. Right?

    Is Hugo "KKK" Black the worst US Supreme court justice ever?

    Have you ever had any embarrassing friends or affiliations in your past, Neil? Admit it, when you were fourteen you thought Communism was "kinda cool".

  • Neil||

    I actually am making a random, cheap disparagement.

  • ||

    This post makes me feel funny.

    I have to agree with Sen. Tubes (in opposing the increase, regardless of the reasons for opposition), and say that the TSA doesn't need more fees levied on air travel for more of their security theater that makes traveling so much more of a pain in the ass.

  • MattXIV||

    Elemenope,

    The comparison with Byrd is actually fairly apt since WV has traditionally been capable of sucking down the pork with the best of them and Byrd has been a long time facilitator of the process. They clocked in at 1.75 dollars of federal spending per dollar in taxes compared to ol' Seward's Folly's 1.83 in 2005.

  • Colin||

    And this in a state that's so wealthy that they pay their citizens a dividend.

  • ||

    Any theories of how New Jersey is "only" getting 50 cents on the dollar? It seems so low that incompetence on the part of its officials seems unlikely.
    My guess is they found some way of gaming the calculations that are used.

  • Kolohe||

    Any theories of how New Jersey is "only" getting 50 cents on the dollar? It seems so low that incompetence on the part of its officials seems unlikely.
    My guess is they found some way of gaming the calculations that are used.



    If you have a large amount of federal land and/or military bases in relation to your population, you get a large amount of federal spending per capita.

  • ||

    Is there any particular reason that the rotating ad for this story is sugardaddie.com?

  • gmatts||

    "I have to agree with Sen. Tubes (in opposing the increase, regardless of the reasons for opposition), and say that the TSA doesn't need more fees levied on air travel for more of their security theater that makes traveling so much more of a pain in the ass."

    Are you saying that TSA is wrong to charge people for buying the equipment, or that TSA is wrong to stick fliers w/ the bill?

  • gmatts||

    "Any theories of how New Jersey is "only" getting 50 cents on the dollar? It seems so low that incompetence on the part of its officials seems unlikely.
    My guess is they found some way of gaming the calculations that are used."

    I'd go with the incompetence of our elected officials. Im from NJ and the lot that has been sent to DC is less than stellar.

  • ||

    Are you saying that TSA is wrong to charge people for buying the equipment, or that TSA is wrong to stick fliers w/ the bill?


    When you are treated to an impromptu piece of performance art, who should get the bill?

  • gmatts||

    I'm not sure that the analogy you presented really tracks with the scenario of people boarding a plane and the gov't wanting to make sure that nobody blows up that plane, and then the gov't charging those same people an additional 50 cents to pay for the procedure.
    It's not as if these people are just walking down the street and the gov't suddenly grabs them and then forces them to enter airline security gates and then hands them a bill.

  • effay||

    I remember watching some Senate proceeding on C-SPAN a few months ago where Stevens was giving some speech honoring Robert Byrd for being the longest serving Senator in history. I was amazed by how senile both men were. How can anyone elect these guys who are both basically brain-dead? I spent the whole time wishing Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd would just have a poetic heart attack in each others arms on the Senate floor.

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