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  • The Mickey Mouse Bailout Act

    In yet another victory for corporatism over the free market and the American taxpayer, the Senate is expected to pass the Tourism Promotion Act of 2009 later today. The bill, a top priority of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), would create a new government-run entity to promote international travel funded by a $10 per person tax on visitors coming to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

    The Washington Post had an eye opening profile of the lobbying behind the bill last year:

    The explosion in the size of K Street, the locus of the lobbying industry, is an extension of the growth and reach of government. The ballooning federal budget has its tentacles in every aspect of American life and commerce. No serious industry or interest can function without monitoring, and at least trying to manipulate, Washington’s decision makers.

    So, in the fall of 2005 [Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman Jay] Rasulo assembled a team of people to make a serious assault on Washington. They included Disney executive Leslie Goodman, a former spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee; lobbyist Mitchell Rose, a former aide to Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska); and Rob Gluck, a young but widely traveled former GOP political operative who now worked for Disney as Rasulo’s top adviser on public policy issues.

    It is widely accepted at Disney — if not empirically proved — that one of every 15 visitors to the United States ends up at a Disney park. Leveraging the power of the federal government to bring more tourists from overseas, therefore, would wind up filling the pockets of the Mouse. … Rasulo would not say so publicly, but he told colleagues privately that his Ask would be for at least $200 million a year in advertising funds — four times what the Commerce Department had previously been directed to spend.

    Thanks largely to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), Disney’s fleecing of the American taxpayer was prevented in 2007. But now with corporatist friendly politicians controlling the White House, the Senate, and the House, the Mickey Mosue bailout is predicted to cruise to victory. Just in case a taxpayer funded government-run advertising campaign doesn’t strike you as inherently absurd, Heritage fellow Jena Baker McNeill outlined the case against earlier this year:

    • It is the wrong kind of business for government. While the bill is touted as a public-private partnership, in reality it is more government and not enough private sector. The bill promotes the kind of excessive government that leads to bureaucracy and inefficiencies–two results that could kill any of the benefits associated with such a corporation. Furthermore, advocates insist that the private sector will have to help foot the bill for the corporation. But in reality, these “assessments,” as they are called, have no teeth–the government has little power to force the private sector to pay the assessments–meaning the corporation will require more government dollars or more taxes on visitors to survive in the future.
    • It sends the wrong message. The new Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was created as a security device. Therefore, tacking on fees for all sorts of things sends a message to America’s allies that this nation does not take its VWP relationships seriously. While the amount is only $10 now, one can easily envision a scenario where this amount increases until it is no longer efficient to travel through the VWP–essentially killing the program.
    • It does not make sense. Taxing visitors as a means of encouraging visitors to come to the U.S. is simply illogical. Promoting tourism should mean that Washington takes away every impediment to travel while still keeping Americans safe, not increasing the penalties and burdens of travel.
    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to The Mickey Mouse Bailout Act

    1. Richard B Lewis, Ham says:

      If you give to obama, you get from obama!

    2. Suzanne Wood says:

      THANK YOU FOR ALL THE INFORMATION THAT YOU HAVE GIVEN US, I ONLY WISH AMERICA COULD READ IT AND TAKE A STAND.

    3. Suzanne Wood says:

      ONCE MORE GOD BLESS AMERICA AND MAY WE GIVE OUR SELVES BACK TO THE STANDARDS THAT OUR FRAMING FATHERS SET BEFORE US AND TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK,

      THEY DIED FOR THEIR STAND AND SOME LOST ALL TO SEE THAT WE HAD AN AMERICA THAT WE COULD BE PROUD OF AND WITH FREEDOMS. NOW EVERY THING IS REVERTING BACK TO EVIL AND BEING CALLED GOOD. THANK YOU WRITERS FOR TRYING TO WAKE PEOPLE UP.

    4. Normca says:

      Harry Reid – like the tram from LA to Las Vegas and billions for another study; $10 from every visitor will eventually not cover it and then guess who will pay the bill; the so called rich in America. The people of NV have it in their scope to send Dirty – Dusty Harry to sit next to Tommy, the $5 million a year lobbyist. By the way, it probably was a lobbyist that got Reid to author the $10 bill.

    5. Clif Albino, Milwauk says:

      The fastest way to solve this problem is DO NOT vote for any incumbent ! ! !

    6. Ross writes, Brade says:

      I SMELL ANOTHER RAT!!!

      I don't care how it's dressed or where it lives, it's still a rat when our federal government gets involved!

    7. Tim Az says:

      I have never been to Disney Land and I refuse to now. It was a great place to see when Walt Disney was alive and well. Since Walt's death his dream has become a nightmare run by Frankenfurter. What an Obamination.

    8. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Tax it if it moves, tax it if it don't. Tax it if it breaths, tax it if it don't. Tax it if is smiling, tax it if it is sad. To the Feds, it just doesn't have any limits, tax it! Well Mickey Mouse has been doing just fine without the Feds taxing visitors, thank you very much, so keep the heck out!

      Hozro

    9. Louis CFLevy says:

      Every point or position "lost" need At the same time, to be recalled and fought for or these "little by little" will make a Big Difference in few years. Wake Up.

    10. Greg, Vail, AZ says:

      You see? Not all corporations are evil, only the ones that support Republican candidates. Corporations make me money as I am a 401k holder and receive a pension that is dependent in large part by investments in the stock market. However, there is such a thing as balance. If requests from corporate lobbyists are too self serving, they need to be ignored.

    11. John Clancy says:

      If you enjoy reading novels, I recommend that you read Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi. This is a story that will draw you in and enlighten you with respect to present day realities. You will feel refreshed and aware.

    12. Jerry from Chicago says:

      I wonder why Harry Reid didn't come up with the "guest tax" on illegal (or, if you prefer, "undocumented") aliens. It might be one way to help pay for the health insurance he wants to give them.

      Then again, maybe Harry could proposed a "guest tax" on all the visitors to Vegas and Reno. This could be a tax over and above all the other taxes visitors pay when they go there. Vegas and Reno take in so much money that the State of Nevada doesn't charge its residents a state income tax. And why do the casinos get to keep so much of all that money they take in? Why I'll bet (no pun intended) that if Harry would introduce legislation in Nevada where those oh-so-rich casinos would have to pay "their fair share", say 70% or more of their profits to the government, that could be where the money could come from to support that national health care plan he favors so much. I'm sure that Mr. Obama would support such an effort knowing of his penchant for "redistributing the wealth". Why should those greedy, rich casinos get to keep all that money when there are so many poor Americans that

      don't have adequate health care?

    13. lisa says:

      know more about the job you wish to have…

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