Show Tourists a Good Time By Taxing Them Upon Entry. Majority Leader Harry Reid Really Is That Stupid.


Over at National Review's The Corner, Reason columnist Veronique de Rugy takes note of a new and immensely retarded bit of legislation being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). It's called the Travel Promotion Act of 2009 and is designed to give foreign visitors a positive impression of the good ol' U.S. of A the minute they hit Customs. From de Rugy's gloss:

[Reid's] Travel Promotion Act of 2009 would create a private company to advertise the United States as a tourist destination to foreigners. For instance, one of the objectives of the bill is, literally, to create a welcoming first impression upon arrival into the U.S….

Should that really be a priority of the U.S. right now? Obviously, Congress thinks so, since this is the first bill that it will consider once senators come back from their summer recess.

But here is the best part: The primary funding source for the bill is a $10 fee (tax) on foreign visitors that use the Visa Waiver Program (primarily European countries). It's a horrible policy that makes for a horrible bill.

Got that? Make a good first impression on tourists by picking their pockets for an extra sawbuck. Caution in the Senate: Genius at work. More here.

The great site Washington Watch, which tracks federal spending, estimates this idiotic bill costs only about $22 per family, making it a relative bargain. And if it keeps the Senate from passing cap and trade, health care "reform, or a slew of pernicious financial regs for a couple of weeks, hell, maybe it's a net benefit.

Update: Reason's Matt Welch was on the case back in June!